Last month, we talked about getting ready for the event, so this month let me guide you in the etiquette of running the event and how this can help you to tie up those loose ends before the end of the year.

While this end of year thank you function might seem social, it’s still about business, and you’re allowed to discuss business topics. But there are ways of doing this, you keep the social tone, or you set the business tone in your inviting and also your welcome speech. Below are some tips you can keep in mind:


  • First things first, never run late for your event, have your plan to get the name tags, theming, your outfit etc., all organised before the day. This means on the day you only have to concentrate on being ready, prepared and fabulous.
  • Always give yourself a minimum of 1 hour before the guests are supposed to arrive, and prepare at the venue – of course, this will change based on what needs to be done to set up and get ready. 1-hour is the minimum for the basic organisation.
  • There will be early arrivals, so you want to make sure you’re ready to greet them with grace and not with an air of annoyance.
  • When people arrive greet them by name, handout nametags if appropriate, and take them to where you want them to sit, wait, mingle etc.
  • Don’t ever leave the guest to sit on their own, ask a colleague to join them, introduce the guest to other guests he might be waiting at the same time–make everyone feel as comfortable as possible from the moment they arrive at your function.

Will you offer pre-meal beverages? Get your customers set up.


Once everybody has arrived you’re ready to start your function. Make a pleasant announcement to get your customers to do what you wish. Example, “Would everybody like to join me at the table and we’ll start our lunch?” Or “Ladies and Gentleman, thank you for coming along today, would you kindly make your way into the ballroom where are our event is about to start?”

  • Official speeches: Ensure that there are one or two speakers at the event who will say a few words of thanks to the customers and staff, and who will also set the tone and the expectations for the event. These 2 speakers could be you and your manager, or the 2 highest level managers attending from your company.
  • During the event, your job is to mingle and make all your customers as welcomed and comfortable as possible. A great way to start the conversation is to ask each person specifically, how their meal is, and name what they ordered.
  • Showing true interest opens communication at the table. Why not ask, “have you had this elsewhere before?”
  • If you want to have some social conversation topics up your sleeve here are some good ones to help:
  1. Ask about their day
  2. Ask about their family
  3. Learn about their pets
  4. What’s your perfect weekend?

You can balance professional with personal in a conversation people will warm to you. Just share titbits to let people in.

  • Our communication is broken into 55% Body Language, 38% is spoken word 7% is the tone that we use – this is the powerful unspoken word!! – Listening and body language is key when you’re with your customers.
  • If you have a particular conversation you want to discuss with a particular customer – let’s say an outstanding proposal that you want to tie up before the end of the year, when you’re in communication 48 hours out from the event, tell them that you’d love to chat with them about ‘your proposal name’ while you’ve got ‘5 minutes’. This one-on-one time in a social gathering does wonders for the business at hand. It’s done quickly and quietly to the side of the event, you may choose to walk out and sit in a separate area or away from the main group. Of course, if you’re just doing a thank you meal with just the 2 of you, this conversation can take place around dessert time.

This is the best way to ‘seal a deal’ in our experience, customers are very open to discussions about finalising the business. But ONLY if they know you want to talk about it before they arrive. Springing it on them at the event, without prior warning could be considered ill-mannered and makes puts the customer in a difficult situation.

Holding your End of Year function and finalising outstanding businesses is a challenge that every business needs to successfully achieve. These types of events can leave a lasting effect on your business in the new year to come so take the time to carefully plan out everything and keep our tips in mind.

If you’ve prepared the necessary things needed and all things to keep in mind, then there’s absolutely no need to fret like this:

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About @ETIQhour:

Rebecca Wiles of The Training Establishment Pty Ltd shares Business & Sales Etiquette tips and techniques through the ever popular hour of @ETIQhour (Etiquette Hour) Mondays 8pm Eastern Australian Time.

If you’re the Next Generation of Leaders, starting out in business, need some etiquette refresher or just want to know more about the right etiquette in business which can help you to impress your colleagues and clients – join our Facebook Group @ETIQhour which has been a secret weapon to success.

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About the Author:

Lead Trainer, Mentor and Coach of The Training Establishment

Lead Trainer, Mentor and Coach of The Training Establishment

Rebecca is the Director, Coach, Mentor and Lead Trainer of The Training Establishment Pty Ltd. She has over 25 years experience in the Hospitality, Travel & Tourism industry, Rebecca is an expert in creating dynamic leaders, specialising (but not limited to) Sales & Marketing. Her passion for imparting knowledge, cultivating great teams by educating and nurturing great talent with her own unique style of panache, fun and finesse. Rebecca believes, everyone in your company is a salesperson, no matter what your job title is.

As the founder and host of Etiquette Hour @ETIQhour on Facebook, a regular dedication to helping young people learn all things business etiquette, motivation and sales tips.

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