Maybe your manager chose you for the task. Perhaps you volunteered. Or maybe a colleague with a twisted sense of humor suggested you for the job. However it happened, you are now faced with the daunting task of planning your office Christmas party. Not only do you have to please your, ahem, eclectic colleagues, but you have to impress your boss. Anything less would be, well, a disaster. But don't be scared, we're here to help.
Just follow these seven rules and you can't fail:
1. Meet with your boss before doing anything
Ask for a brief meeting to go over your boss's expectations. If he or she is thinking “elegant dinner cruise along the Seine followed by live jazz,” and you're thinking “monster truck rally followed by karaoke,” you'll be happy you asked for their input before booking the rally arena. However, don't plan with only your boss's tastes in mind--think of your colleagues above all. Your boss will be impressed by your ability to please the whole company --not by your efforts to please just him or her.
2. Set a budget
Before deciding on champagne and caviar or beer and hot dogs, set a budget with your boss and do not exceed it.
3. Plan ahead
Oh, you're looking to book a private room for 50 people in late December? So is everyone else! Holding a company holiday party near the end of the year isn't exactly a novel idea. Start researching the best venues as soon as you are given the job of planning. Locking down a venue well in advance will save you time, stress and perhaps money as well.
4. Pay attention to detail
Take the time to visualize every detail of the event--from transportation and décor, to entertainment and food. Will you need audiovisual assistance? Will there be a gift exchange, and how will it be organized? Imagine things that can go wrong and work them out in advance.
5. Don't forget the fun
The best office parties are the ones where everyone laughed a lot--not the ones with the most sophisticated degustation menu or the most sought after German deejay. Keep your colleagues' tastes and personalities in mind when choosing entertainment, and you can't go wrong.
6. Ask for help
Depending on the size of your company or office, attempting to do all of the above alone might just be asking to fail--either at the party itself or at your actual job. So ask your trusted colleagues for assistance and delegate tasks.
7. Get the word out
Start advertising the office Christmas party early and often. Make sure that managers communicate it effectively to their teams, which will ensure a stellar turnout. Ask employees to confirm their presence at least three weeks in advance in order to plan for food, drinks and transportation.
8. Stay in control
D-day has arrived! Be proud of your hard work and enjoy yourself at the party, but don't get wasted. Remember that you are the manager of the evening and the point of contact with the venue in case anything goes wrong. You want people to be talking about your epic Christmas party months later--but not because you did something crazy.