By Alexia Leachman, Personal Branding Coach at Blossoming Brands

The Christmas networking dos and parties offer so much potential for you to grow and develop your network. But, unfortunately, they also offer you the perfect opportunity for you to shoot yourself in the foot or insert your foot into your mouth. Yes, Christmas could also be the undoing of your personal brand.

Maybe you’ve been diligently working hard all year, ensuring that you’re creating the right impression in the right circles. All this hard work has meant that you’ve grown quite a name for yourself as being great at what you do, and next year is full of promise as you start on the right foot. So, you decide to let your hair down and have a few drinks. Uh-oh! You’ve just taken a step into the minefield that is known as the Christmas party. One that threatens all that hard work you’ve done all year.

In a recent poll of 2,000 people, TGI Fridays found that a quarter of office workers will find themselves in a romantic embrace at the annual work bash and those who work in PR are more likely to end up in bed at the end of the night.
One in ten wake up the next day to find that they revealed a secret that they later regret, and twenty percent of partygoers end up telling co-workers what they really think of them. Ouch!

If you wake up to find that one of these activities featured on the previous night’s to-do list, you’d be forgiven for squirming uncomfortably in your seat as you try and recall exactly what happened. But even if you managed to escape any of these common behaviours, maybe you’ve woken up in a bit of a state and not really capable of doing your job.

In some research of 500 middle managers in London www.LondonlovesBusiness.com found that nearly forty percent admit that a boozy night would impact on how well they do their job. And as age takes its toll, these boozy nights are likely to impact not one but several days on the job.

Suddenly, these festive opportunities for building your personal brand reveal a darker side. So how can you ensure that you stay on track? Well, here are some festive top tips to keep your reputation in shape;

1. Dress to impress but not to shock.

2. Alternate your drinks between alcoholic and soft.

3. Use the opportunity to mingle with people of influence, but don’t push it too far. You just want to get on their radar and lay the ground for a future conversation. Keep it light-hearted and don’t put them on the spot with your business pitch and funding request.

4. Don’t use your hangover as an excuse for not turning up to work or cancelling meetings. Put on a brave face and deal with it.

And on that note.. seasons greetings! And a happy new year!

Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com and www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and @BBrands

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