In the course of a job, opportunities will arise where your boss will want to take either a group or the entire company out for a social gathering. Whether it is dinner at a restaurant or ordering take out to eat in the office, it is considered a social gathering where employees can relax and enjoy each other. Last week in Asheville, many companies engaged in social gatherings before the Lessons in Leadership conference at the Diana Wortham Theater in downtown Asheville. At an hour long social networking gathering before the conference began, multiple companies were able to mingle and network with each other.
Rules of etiquette still must be followed at these social gatherings. Actions and manners can stick in co-workers and employers minds, and can affect working relationships. Here are some tips to remember when at a social gathering.
1. Don't order the most expensive item on the menu. Sure, your boss may tell you to order whatever you want on his dime, but at the end of the day this is either coming out of company funds or your boss's direct account. A good rule of thumb is to see what your boss orders and order something that is at the same or less price. It is acceptable to order something a couple of dollars more expensive, but don't order the 35 dollar lobster. If you and a co-worker are looking at something more expensive, arrange to split a meal to keep the costs low. If you are paying for your own meal, by all means, order whatever you would like, but if the company or your boss is paying for the meal, be sure to respect them by keeping the price relatively moderate.
2. If alcohol is served, don't go overboard. Again, follow your boss' lead. If he orders three martinis, keep the alcohol consumption within that range. If other co-workers are drinking more, still try and follow your boss' example. Let other people raise the tab, not you. Also be aware of your limits. Know how much you can drink in order for you to still drive safely and within the law, and also know how much you can drink before you begin to cut back and let loose. For young professionals this can be a difficulty, but try to not give a glimpse of how you act on evenings and on weekends.
3. Keep gossip to a minimum. This can be difficult outside of the office, especially when co-workers are not present. A company social gathering is not an excuse to talk about co-workers. Things can get back to those people, and can cause animosity and awkwardness in the workplace.
4. Do remain social and active in the conversation. The purpose of company social gatherings is team building and strengthening the company. Be attentive and let your personality shine. If you are new to the company, this can be a perfect way to introduce yourself and let co-workers know who you really are. Stay away from texting friends on your cell phone, and remain engaged in the conversation. Keep eye contact with the person who is speaking, and share your opinions in a light, respectful way.
5. Remember that you are representing your company. Even if you are standing with a group of your co-workers, you are still a representative of your company. At large social gatherings where multiple companies are present, your actions could cast your company in a positive or negative light. Potential clients or vendors can see your actions and that could determine whether your company gains or loses business.
A company social gathering is much different from a social gathering with friends. Be who you are, but remember that you are a representative of your company, and always be on your best behavior. For more tips, please visit How To Do Things.