Monday, 12 December 2011

Guide for Surviving the Office Christmas Party

First of all, we’d like you to remember that whatever you did last night is not your fault. It’s your boss’s fault.

Your boss provided a party. He provided a party with alcohol. It was your job to enjoy said party and consume the alcohol. You were merely fulfilling a job description. Anyone who was sober enough to remember what you were doing and start criticising you for it should be reported immediately to their superiors for not giving the evening their full participation and support. And, for being really, really boring.

Having said that, if you were really badly behaved it’s entirely possible that you might be in for a bit of stick at the office today. Lie still under the duvet for a moment while we guide you through how to deal with everything.

What Happened?

The first thing you must do is assess the damage. Look around.  Can you gauge any clues from your immediate surroundings? Are you in a skip? Are you on an operating table? Do you recognise that ceiling? 

If you’re at home, well done. Look next to you. Is there anyone lying there? Look under the duvet. Is there anyone under there? If there is then maybe they can throw some light on things.

What to Worry About

The following are bad things at parties:

•    Inappropriate bodily emissions in an inappropriate place.
•    Indecent exposure. This is also bad (unless you’re exceptionally well-endowed and/or you’ve just invested in major cosmetic surgery).
•    Arson isn’t clever, either.
•    If there is someone under the duvet and they are the boss’s wife/husband that could be an issue too. If the boss is in there with you, however, then happy days. You are in for a pay rise. If you are in bed with your boss and his wife make it a large pay rise.

Physical Damage

Get up and look in the mirror. Is there any physical damage which will need disguising with clever accessories?

Your Return to the Office

Do not pull a sickie. It just delays everything. Your strategy should be to get in early, control the rumours and, if possible, try and find someone who was worse than yourself so you can all start talking about them instead.
Your one white hope is that perhaps everyone else was too drunk to remember it. You will know within three seconds of pushing open the office door whether this is the case.

If you are responsible for any embarrassing stains or spills on other people’s clothes we recommend an immediate and fulsome apology together with an offer to dry-clean. Don’t be offended if they come back with an angry ultimatum that you should also book into a clinic and dry out. 

Move the conversation quickly on to someone else. If you were the worst-behaved person at the party simply make up something about someone who isn’t in the office yet. Suggesting a lesbian liaison is always a good one – pick the two prettiest girls in the office and people will soon forget about what you did.

•    Go for sympathy. Mumble the following: ‘I’m so sorry. I was on medication and I shouldn’t have mixed it with alcohol. I tried not to.’
•    Claim you’d had bad news and were self-medicating with alcohol.
•    Nobody will believe you if you say your drink was spiked.
•    Cheer up. At least you’re not pregnant.
•    Might you be? The morning-after pill still works after seventy-two hours.

The main thing about partying mishaps is that everybody goes through them at some point. Forgive yourself. We’ve all been there.

Remember that you’ll only be a figure of fun until it’s the next person’s turn to disgrace themselves. See if anyone in the office is up for a hair of the dog at lunchtime and hopefully you’ll get the office gossip moved on to them instead.

Excerpted from the Little, Brown Book Group website (

For some fun visuals, Click here:

Friday, 9 December 2011


Blogs are fun to write (I love creating them!!!), informative and a great way to promote & market your brand.  But, the challenge lies in getting them found on that vast information highway we know as the internet.  As enjoyable to write as they are, your blog posts aren’t going to do much good if no one actually gets to read them.  The question is, then:  how do you maximize your blog’s SEO (search engine optimization) and drive traffic to your posts so they can serve their purpose of marketing your business.
If you run a customer-facing business – let’s say you’re a mortgage broker – then your business blog will revolve around offering information and advice on all things mortgage.  When someone in your locale is looking for information on obtaining a mortgage, the first order of business will be to conduct a Google search.  What you want to ideally do is ensure that your blog ranks among the first two or three search results – or at least in the top 5!  If you’re way down at number 610, no one is going to find you.  Over time and with some good old-fashioned work & polish, there’s no reason in the world that you won’t rank in the top 5!! 
Here are a few concepts to keep in mind that will be sure to maximize your blog’s SEO:  
1. Maximize your Links:
One of the most vital elements that you need to be aware of in order to garner that all-important search engine optimization, is “link maximizing”.  In plain English:  it’s imperative that you amplify as much as possible the number of links drifting around out there that direct people to your blog.  There are a few ways in which to accomplish this.  You can add a link to your forum signature or forum block; you can submit links on website directories; you can trade links or you can even purchase links. 
But remember, it’s also crucial that you use the right link name.  If you’re a mortgage broker, examples of links that you should use are:  top-notch mortgage advice” or “hot mortgage tips for first time homebuyers” or “mortgage numbers demystified”.  You get the idea.
2. Keep it Fresh and Engaging:
In order for your blog to be and remain successful, you need to keep it updated on a very regular basis.  If you start to get a following and don’t post anything for over a month, it’s going to get stale; people are going to stop visiting and move on to find their info elsewhere.  Remember:  the more frequently you update, the more easily people will be able to find your blog on search engines, because search engines will more readily recognize your blog.
But, keep in mind that quality counts just as much as quantity.  Keep it interesting and engaging.  Your posts should encompass content that will appeal to your visitors – they’re reading your material for a reason and you want to maintain your audience. 

3. Create a Domain Name of Your Very Own:
Buying your own domain name is a really good idea if you’re serious about your blog and increasing its traffic.  Create a domain name that is easy for people to remember (size does matter – the shorter the better in this case) and that is relevant to your blog posts. 
4. Source Out and Follow other Top Bloggers:
Look for other bloggers in your industry genre and contribute by commenting on their posts.  Ensure that your comments are relevant, informative and that they intelligently enhance the content.  Also ensure that you include a directive link to your own blog, so that they’ll check you out, too!
5. Respond to Comments on Your Blog Posts:
Speaking of commenting on blog posts, when you do start to receive traffic to your blog and people comment, it’s essential that you respond in kind – this will assure your readers that you value their opinions and will establish a sense of loyalty between you and your readers.
6. Include Labels or Tags on Your Posts:
Once you’ve written your content, take the time to add a few labels or tags (these are keywords) to your posts.  Tags are easily recognized by search engines, much like links.  This will be sure to drive additional traffic to your blog as tags are an excellent way of assisting readers in finding your blog when they use search engines.  To that end, ensure also that the tags or keywords are used as plentifully as possible throughout your blog posts as these words must be incorporated within your content for Google to consider recognizing the posts.  For example, if you use the word “finances” a lot throughout your post, ensure that you include that exact word “finances”  and not the words “financial planning” as a tag.  Likewise, if you use the term “retirement planning” plentifully within your post, make sure that you use that term as a tag and not just the word “retire” or even just the word  “retirement”.   And, bear in mind when writing your content, what keywords or terms readers will use to search for an article such as the one you’re writing – then use those words or terms as abundantly as possible and, of course as tags.
7. Syndicate Your Content with an RSS Feed:
It’s a good idea to set up an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed tab on your blog.  Doing so will make it easy to alert readers when you publish fresh content.  (You can use Feedburner or Feedblitz to do this.  Visit their websites for more information on how to share an RSS feed.)
8. Make the Most of Your Other Social Networking Sites:
To really leverage social media as a means of effectively marketing your business, you should (if you don’t already) also be making use of other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Each of these networks offers you the opportunity to post content about and promote your blog posts.  And, again – don’t forget to include a link.

Above are just some of the ways you can maximize your blog’s SEO.  For a complete, informative lesson on “all things blog”, why not join one of our Social Media for Business workshops and we’ll help get you on the heavily trafficked road to a successful blog!  For a schedule of workshops in your area, please visit: