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The jingle of bells, the clinking of glasses, the festive décor … the cocktail meatballs that you’ve probably eaten too many of. It seems we’ve only just blinked and now the season is upon us once again: the season of the company / office holiday party.
These gatherings, a classic mainstay of the workplace calendar year, can be much more than an excuse to party on the company tab – they can be a wonderful way to bring colleagues together from all levels of your business. And by delivering a great speech as you have everyone gathered together, you can help set the tone for the coming year and enthuse your team by making them feel appreciated.
If you’re in charge of delivering a speech at your company holiday party and are looking for a boost of inspiration or confidence – don’t sweat it. Because we have some tips for you to maximize the moment.
Our 5 tips for giving a great holiday speech:
Prep, Don’t Wing It – Although a holiday party may be a more casual affair compared to a client presentation, don’t do it on the fly. Be prepared and rehearse your speech aloud a few times to identify changes you might want to make, get your tempo down and to check for length. This will not only give you more polish, it will make you feel more confident, resulting in a better, more genuine delivery.
Brevity Bonus – People have gathered to enjoy a party atmosphere, so plan on keeping your speech concise so attention doesn’t start to wander. This isn’t the time for long winded stories or analysis. That being said, don’t avoid being specific when acknowledging individuals, teams, or departments that had impactful, notable achievements and project work over the past year. Your rehearsal time can help you incorporate these details without running too long.
Timing is Everything – plan to deliver your speech earlier rather than later. As these celebratory events run their course, people’s attention becomes more fractured, the alcohol has often been flowing and often people may have to leave early due to the busy holiday season packing their calendars. You want to wait long enough for everyone to arrive and settle in but early enough so that they’re still going to be attentive.
Give Thanks and Gratitude – It might seem obvious but it’s important enough to mention. The whole point of your speech, and of the celebration itself, is to recognize everyone for their past year of effort and how you look forward to what’s to come with your team in the new year. Also be sure to thank the families / significant others of your employees – this shows you are aware and appreciative of people’s lives outside of the workplace.
Keep It on a High Note – Even if your company has experienced results that fell below expectations this year, the holiday party is not the time to bring it up. Save that for strategy meetings. Use your speech to highlight successes instead of setbacks, even if the successes have been small. You want your team to feel positive, hopeful and energized for the year ahead. Help to create that atmosphere.
If you speak at your company’s holiday party this year, let us know how it goes! What other tips do you suggest when preparing for a company celebration speech?