Just seven steps to the perfect christmas party speech!

Here’s how to strengthen the "we" feeling, including with your Christmas speech

Just seven steps to the perfect christmas party speech!

No Christmas party without a Christmas speech – and usually before the festive meal. But it’s a pity when the enjoyment only begins with the meal. Yet it’s easy to turn a Christmas speech into a "feast for the ears" that whets your appetite for more: namely, more shared successes in the coming year!

Step 1: Stop saying "Every year."

"Dear employees, I would like to welcome you to our Christmas party this year. The year 2017 was a very busy one for all of us, and now it is coming to an end …"

A speaker who starts his Christmas speech in this style and thus ensures continuation will soon be heard snoring softly in addition to growling stomachs. Because honestly, how many times have you heard these words before? All right, the year varies, but that’s all that makes this speech introduction timely. Otherwise, generations before us have been greeted similarly every year at a Christmas party. But that’s over now! Because it’s better – and that is:

Specifically. Everyday language. Close to the action.

If you want to begin your Christmas speech, as above, with a review, choose rather a concrete example, which does not lie long ago; like this:

"Dear employees, we have made it! Our project XY is under wraps – and on schedule, which was often in the balance. But we got it right! And that’s why we deserve to take a break from our work and enjoy ourselves today. I would like to welcome you all to our Christmas party! …"

If there is no event worth highlighting right at the beginning of your speech, you are well advised to use the following structure:

Opening with a quote or an anecdote

First arouse interest, then greet

Did you notice something? The greeting only comes in third place. And this alone will make your speech seem fresher. Secure the attention of your audience with the introduction, and then welcome them. This will also help you break through the monotony of the same opening over the years.

Step 2: You can score points with the salutation alone

How to address your audience? Does it really have to be "Dear employees"?? With this form of address, you immediately make it clear that you are at the top of the hierarchy. But even if this is true, is this reference to the hierarchy really necessary?? It makes a more sympathetic impression if you use understatement and choose "Dear Colleagues" as your salutation.

What you should avoid at all costs is the salutation "Dear employees and colleagues," because that polarizes people. It is more unifying if you enhance the employees by making no distinction between them and the "colleagues".

It is also more personal than "Dear employees" if you begin, for example, with "Dear … (company) team" or, at a departmental Christmas party, with "Dear … (department) team".

Step 3: Praise and thanks instead of mood killers

Salutation, introduction and welcome – and what comes next? First of all, what better not to follow. Here are the three faux pas you’ll use to instantly bring the mood down to zero:

  1. Maneuvering criticism: Your Christmas speech is not the right medium for that. Nor should you announce changes that could have negative consequences for employees, such as planned rationalization measures or restructuring.
  2. Self-promotion: Your Christmas speech is not the right setting for this either. The focus of your speech should be on the employees and what they have achieved together.
  3. Dry facts and figures: A Christmas speech is a festive speech and not a sober annual report.

Sincerely. Honestly. Positive.

The right ingredients for your Christmas speech are words that strengthen the "we" feeling and show that you have a connection to your employees. Therefore, when preparing your speech, eliminate the terms "employees" and "listeners" from your thoughts and replace them with "people with strengths, weaknesses, and emotions.". This will make it easier for you to find the appropriate words. Put yourself in these people’s shoes with some empathy: What do you think they would like to hear from you?

You would be well advised to offer sincere praise for what we have achieved together over the past twelve months. And you will also go down well with your employees with a positive review of the events and changes of the year almost gone by. And what you should not forget at all is the thanks!

Phrase everything you say in your Christmas speech positively. But always remain honest and authentic: euphemism, adulation, exaggeration and ingratiation will quickly lead you onto thin ice.

Step 4: From person to person

The more personally your employees feel addressed by your Christmas speech, the better. However, you won’t achieve this goal by repeating the salutation at regular intervals. It is more skillful to intersperse rhetorical questions by saying, for example, "Did you also feel the same way as I ..?", "Would you have thought …", "Wasn’t that a great moment when …". These formulations create closeness and make you want to continue listening to you.

Tell, instead of listing bullet points

Your speech also becomes more personal through "I" messages, which reveal the person in you as the boss and show that you take nothing for granted. For example, your employees have worked a lot of overtime: don’t leave it at "Thank you very much for that, too"!". Rather, tell a little; for example:

"How often have I walked through our rooms in the evening and seen that work is still going on long after the end of the day?. And then every time I was very proud to know such a dedicated team by my side. Sacrificing free time for our company is by no means a given. And I assure you: I appreciate your dedication very much."

So talk about your perceptions, observations, findings, insights and say thank you from person to person.

Step 5: Get your employees on your side

After the review and thanks, it’s time for the outlook: What’s coming up in 2018? What’s planned for the coming year? What are the goals to be achieved? The same goes for the outlook: underpin the "we" feeling! Your Christmas speech is not about announcing corporate decisions, plans and strategies, but about getting your employees on your side for the coming fiscal year as well. No matter what’s coming up for 2018: Therefore, express it in a way that everyone feels addressed; for example:

"Our team will …", "Our department will work together to …", "It’s up to all of us when it comes to …", "I look forward to working with you to …", "I trust your support when it comes to …"

Step 6: Ending means stopping

After the outlook comes the conclusion – and without coming back to one or the other point again. Wish your audience a happy holiday, a good rest and a nice Christmas celebration. And that was definitely your last sentence!

And please remember: Brevity is the spice of life: This applies not only to your Christmas speech as a whole, but also to your individual sentences. Short, comprehensible, concise, pictorial and infused with positive emotions: that’s how your Christmas speech should be – and it shouldn’t demand the attention of your listeners for more than 10 to 15 minutes at the most.

Step 7: Show that you have everyone’s benevolent attention

Carefully chosen words are just one of the ways to connect with your audience. Another variant works completely without words and is just as effective: make eye contact with your employees during your Christmas speech. Let your eyes wander and always rest for a moment on a group of employees. But be careful not to stare directly at anyone, nor seek eye contact only with the same employees. Give your employees the feeling that your benevolent gaze rests on all of them.

Looking for more ideas about Christmas in the company?

On our Christmas page you will find

Ideas for a Christmas gift that every employee will be happy about

Information on what tax benefits you can take advantage of for Christmas

Lots of tips and a free Christmas guide for organizing your Christmas party

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