10 ways to avoid screwing up your speech at the holiday party

Pontificating, dwelling on setbacks and waiting until everyone is sloshed—including you—are all invitations for disaster to strike. Keep it light, brief and positive, and pass the crab puffs.

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Ah, the office holiday party. It conjures punchlines of poor wardrobe choices and over-served sales reps.

In reality, it’s one of the more dignified traditions to survive the modern working world.

For bosses, it’s a moment that calls for reminding everyone why they’re drinking (or at least eating) on the company tab. Rather than view this speech as an obligation, bosses should embrace it as an opportunity to set the tone for the coming year with remarks that make the team feel both appreciated and appreciative.

Here are 10 tips for giving a great holiday speech:

1. Thank them. It’s the whole point of the speech and, frankly, the party. If you do nothing else, thank your colleagues for their hard work throughout the year.

2. Thank the significant others. They’ve made sacrifices on behalf of your company as well, carrying the load on the home front when an employee travels, works late or misses a parent/teacher conference. No one has greater influence on your employees’ decisions—whether it’s to stay at the company, volunteer for big projects or gripe about the health plan. Here is a chance to bank some good will with the spouses.

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