Company picnic dos and don’ts

Summer is officially here and with that often comes the company staff picnic. The event is a great time to get to know your coworkers and upper management. With that visibility you can either make or break your career, depending on how you conduct yourself. Here are some tips to help you best take advantage of the opportunities the company picnic affords you.

  • Do attend the event. Many people make the mistake of thinking these seemingly forced socializing situations are not that important, however, when you don’t attend the company function you’re not seen as a team player.
  • Do show up within a half-hour of the starting time and plan to stay at least an hour.
  • Do mingle and talk to others outside of your workgroup. This is a great time to extend your network.
  • Do talk to upper management. They are just as nervous as you are to talk to people they don’t know well, but they will be impressed you reached out to them.
  • Do participate in the games. The egg toss, tug of war and three-legged races may sound silly, but they are all actually quite fun and a great way to get to know your coworkers in an enjoyable way.
  • Do bring your spouse and kids if they are invited. They usually are at the company picnic, but if you’re not sure, check first. It’s always great for your coworkers to get to know your family and vice-versa.
  • Don’t gossip, talk shop or be a downer. This is supposed to be fun, remember?!
  • Don’t drink too much. You should have no more than two alcoholic drinks. While it’s a social event, it’s still a work related event and you must maintain your professionalism.
  • Don’t monopolize a senior manager’s time and don’t focus on work. While it’s fine to briefly mention a project you are working on, use the opportunity to get to know the manager personally and to share some of your interests and hobbies.
  • Don’t wear revealing clothes. While it’s expected you’ll wear summer attire, avoid low-cut or skimpy tops, or shorts or skirts that show too much. You can be seen as sexy or smart. Smart will get you farther. Men, going shirtless is not an option unless the event includes swimming.

I hope these tips are helpful. Have you witnessed bad company picnic behavior? Have you ever done something you wished you hadn’t at the office summer function? Any other tips you would add?

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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