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Jane Sparrow

Northern Flight

Managing Director

Read more about Jane Sparrow

Blog: Getting your champagne stories ready for Christmas


December is a time of celebration, thanks and appreciation for many people in business.

For others it’s also the end of a financial year and so appraisals are happening too.  
One leader I am working with described the appraisal season as the most remarkable time where she’s been reminded of what her team have achieved this year. One member of her team had kept a log of all the achievements she’d made AND what she’d learned over the past 12 months.  
The leader described this as a refreshing way to discuss the year and that both parties were astounded by just how much had been done – and that much of it was forgotten because it was earlier in 2012.  
One piece of advice I have for people in this situation is to use some of those learnings, observations and achievements as ‘champagne stories’ as they chat to colleagues at Christmas dos.  
Having a couple of interesting stories up your sleeve that show you as particularly interesting are never a bad thing to have at the ready. If you’re someone that doesn’t generally shout about their achievements, it’s even better if your story includes something you achieved that year.  
Be careful of tone – it’s being interesting rather than bragging that counts. You can also ask questions of others, in-between sips of the bubbly stuff, to find out more about them. Look for the clues about your colleagues that help you to best engage them next year.  
Asking questions about what has been someone’s highlight this year or the most interesting experience they had, is a great conversation starter. Be ready to share yours too! Champagne stories are also useful for networking events – what are the stories that you are going to tell when you meet someone new.  
It’s the stories about you that they’ll remember not the facts or dry conversation. So, make yours count! This is just one of the practical hints to consider that I’m including in my 24 day audio blog on
Some of you have asked me directly for more practical examples about how to be a great leader/manager and in my terms ‘culture builder’ so I’m’ recording one practical example per day that people can pick up and use immediately.  
Feel free to share the stories with your managers to help them become more confident and competent in the day to day role of getting the best out of themselves and those around them.
Jane Sparrow is managing director of behavioural change consultancy, Northern Flight.

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Jane Sparrow

Managing Director

Read more from Jane Sparrow

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