How To Avoid Organising An Awkward Christmas Party

So you’re planning the biggest social event of the year for your organisation. Feeling the pressure much?

We can help. The Funny Guys crew have all MC’d and performed at loads of Christmas parties from local football clubs to squillion dollar fortune 500 company events. We know a thing or two about awesome corporate parties. And we’ve witnessed a few awkward ones too. So we’ve put our funny heads together to give you some helpful tips in party planning. Dates, venues, catering, budgets, so many things to organise for your Christmas party. Here’s a few more things for you to worry about too.

Know your audience

Of course you know your staff, you work there. Age, gender, locations, hobbies. Tick. But have you dug a little deeper? Do any of your staff have oddball views or social behaviours that you’ll need to factor in? Are there any chilly undercurrents between internal staff or regional offices? Or will any looming rounds of redundancies in the air cause dagger eyes over dinner? Knowing the tensions, fears and pain points of your staff and workplace can help you avoid cringe-worthy or not-quite-right Christmas parties. Not inviting annoying employees would be ideal, but is not usually a practical solution. So do your homework and create an event that doesn’t poke the loose wild bears of your workplace.

Beware of the awesome theme party idea

Everyone loves a good theme party, right? But will that awesome themed party that your friend threw translate to your work Christmas event? Not always. Workplaces are unique melting pots of people, pleasure and pain. Some conservative or formal workplaces may not be that welcoming of self expression and rocking out wild costumes. Rather than loosening things up, a poorly matched or executed theme can make a corporate party feel forced and awkward. Does Liz in accounts want to dress up as a cowgirl with the CFO? Does the CFO want to dress up as a cowgirl? Get the theme right, you’ve nailed the night. Get it wrong and it will be remembered for a long time to come.

Add the right social lubricant

Everyone is keen to lube the social cogs and put the wheels of fun in motion at work parties. Unfortunately alcohol is often relied on a little too much and the effects of which can be catastrophic, painful or just plain boring. We all know how Bob from the Sales team likes to tell that story ‘from summer of 1998’ after a few drinks. Kinda funny the first few times you hear it. Save your staff from Bob. Get a real comedian. A great entertainer relaxes the audience, distracts and slows the flow of booze and brings people together. Look for activities and corporate entertainment that will loosen up the vibe at your christmas party this year without getting your staff loose.

Avoid social media fails

Good or bad your staff will share their thoughts and pics with others. Sometimes on social for all the world to see. Get your staff talking about your Christmas party for all the right reasons. Choose a location, activity, entertainment and gifts that are bang-on with your business brand.

Earlier this year, Microsoft party planners thought they were being cheeky and on theme when they organised some scantily clad go-go dancers dressed as ‘saucy school-girls’ for the Game Developers Conference. Some liked it. Others didn’t and vented on twitter putting Microsoft in the headlines for disrespecting women #Awks #Fail. So wise up and avoid outdated and inappropriate behaviour and messages at your work events. Know what’s appropriate, know your punters and know your brand. Microsoft and saucy school girls? #Creepy.

Organising a Christmas party is an incredible opportunity to bring people together, break down barriers and create an uplifting and inspiring event. Just remember not to choose an event, activity or theme that will rub anyone the wrong way, add some spice, but not too much, get people loosened up but not too loose and always create some positive Insta-worthy moments that people will want to share. If that all sounds too hard, hire a comedian.

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