It's office party season again. And despite the "squeezed middle" and ongoing Eurozone predicament there's still scope for some serious fun. But what happens when you are asked to speak at the office party? What about when you have to thank all the staff in accounts or congratulate the sales and marketing teams. Your enthusiasm for the party might dim.
Your Office Party Speech
But with some festive cheer, here's a reminder on the essential speaking techniques for your office party.
1) First plans. Identify the type of speech you want. Do some planning, jot down an idea or two and be ready for any surprises. Take a look at the party venue –work out the best location from which to speak. If party music is planned you should be able to use a microphone–essential kit for a noisy party atmosphere.
2) Drinks. Don't even think about public speaking when the party drinks have been flowing a long time. Your audience's attention will be elsewhere and interruptions are inevitable. And of course, it goes without saying, you shouldn't consider trying to give a speech yourself when you have had one or two. It doesn't work and is often embarrassing!
3) Starters. Aim to speak near the beginning of the party when people have arrived, had a drink or two and conversation is flowing. If dinner is being served aim to speak before dinner. It's not an after dinner speech.
4) The next course. If you have organised the party then it's best to say a quick thank you to the hotel or catering staff. Or, if your office manager has organised the party it's definitely best to thank them for all their hard work. It's always a challenge organising the office party, so a big thank you will be well received.
5) Presents. The office party is a good time for some other thanks – for people or teams. When thanking people remember to get the technique right. For example, "And now, someone who's always committed to the customer, someone who always puts their customer first, someone who it is a pleasure to work with...[pause]...first name, second name". Applause will start spontaneously when you get it this way round. If you name the person and then keep talking the audience loses track of the applause point.
6) More Presents. For a more solid appraisal of someone consider listing their "virtuous" points and then compare them with something less "virtuous". Detail two of their virtues with a small anecdote –their commitment and their ability, perhaps. Then detail a less-virtuous point that will get either a laugh or a wry acknowledgement – their taste in business suits or performance in the company 5-a-side league. The idea is not to be cruel! Then detail their final virtue – sense of humour, perhaps. Lastly, name them using the first name, second name technique.
7) Be brief. Very brief. You can do the strategic review at another event!
8) Party lights. Note some closing points that will be important later in the evening..."taxis are on the company account" or, "the office opens at 1100 tomorrow", or "the band is playing an extra hour until 0100". These are good news points. They are easy to make work well.
9) And finally. Round off your speech with a toast along the lines of..."To ourselves, To absent friends and To the future". In today's economic climate, that's about right.
10) Party...party. Now it's time to relax and enjoy the party. Roll on the New Year. Roll on 2012.
It's short, it's friendly and it's upbeat – it's the office party speech.
There are more speech making techniques and other public speaking tips with PresentPerfectTM one to one skills coaching.
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