The Rules of Business Drinks

The Rules of Business Drinks

by Thibaut Leroux November 15, 2017

Sometimes, nothing beats a cool glass of the local beer on a business trip – especially after a long day of meetings. But, with over a quarter of business travellers admitting to binge drinking while on the road, it’s clear that one drink can easily turn into (too) many. For some business travellers, decisions about drinking on work trips are a case of understanding their limits. For others, it’s about knowing how to navigate a situation without being pressured into drinking.

How can you strike a balance between enjoying your downtime when travelling for work, without having to face an awkward conversation with colleagues the next morning?

If nothing else, think what advice would your Grandma give?

If you don’t want to drink, have a plan in place

Grandma’s Tip: “If you wish to keep the mind clear and the body healthy, abstain from all fermented liquors.” – Sydney Smith

Whether you avoid alcohol for religious reasons, your health or personal preference, have a plan in place to deal with any situations that involve alcohol. And, if you’ve ever felt pressured into drinking during a business trip or are worried that having ‘just one more’ might cause you to damage a client relationship, the following tips should help:

  • Explain truthfully why you’re not drinking. This step should be enough to stop anyone trying to pressure you into a drink. If they’re still insistent, make your excuses and move away from them.
  • Have a soft drink order planned in advance. This tactic will stop you being sidelined by pressure or temptation to choose an alcoholic drink at the last minute. It’s especially helpful for occasional drinkers, who don’t want alcohol at that time.
  • If possible, have a trusted colleague by your side who understands your preference and will back you up against anyone who tries to pressure you to drink.

If you want to drink, but don’t want to take it too far

Grandma’s Tip: “The choicest pleasures of life lie within the ring of moderation.” –  Benjamin Disraeli

It’s perfectly alright to want a glass of wine and leave it at that. But, sometimes at business events, it’s easy for one to become two or more. To stick to your intentions, follow these tips:

  • Arrive late and leave early at any networking events or post-work gatherings. The less time you’re at an evening event, the less time you have to drink.
  • Slowly sip your drink and make every other drink a glass of water. This tip should keep you more hydrated and limit the number of alcoholic drinks you have.
  • Use an app like Drinkaware or DrinkControl to keep track of the drinks you’re having.

If you do drink, leave while you’re still having fun

Grandma’s Tip: “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” – Phyllis Diller

Nobody wants to be caught in an embarrassing situation because of drinking too much at a work event. But overindulging, even in a single session, can cause us to misjudge risky situations, say more than we mean and even cause injury to ourselves.

If alcohol is involved, leave when you’re having a great time. This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s a smart tactic. It means you leave the evening on a high and means you’re back in your room before you can drink too much. If possible, pair up with a colleague and plan when you will go back to your accommodation, so you’re committed to leave at a sensible time.

If you can arrive back at your hotel room before that stage and get yourself to bed as early as possible, you’ll avoid waking the next morning and cursing your actions from the night before.

(Editor’s note: The tips included in this blog post are not substitutes for medical advice – they’re for educational purposes only.)

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