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I am the Queen of dinner parties – that is, attending them. I can’t cook to save myself although I have set a NY resolution to learn. Thankfully I know how to turn up with a really good bottle of wine or if I am feeling celebratory, French champagne and I am well versed at making light conversation with pretty much anyone.

Since I have owned my own businesses, I have a different attitude towards dinner parties. I am slightly more careful what I say and I tend to listen more and read people’s personalities not by just what they say, but also by their body language. You know when someone scratches their nose, they are feeling uneasy about what they are saying and possibly aren’t telling the truth – that kind of stuff.
Dinner parties are brilliant for finding out about people, getting to know them better and creating life long friends or acquaintances. They are also great when you have a few laughs and are entertained by people who know how to tell a good story. The latter, I struggle. I can write it but when it comes to telling a story about a holiday, I tend to get stumped.
It’s 2 to 3 hours of socializing in a small intimate group and having the opportunity to get to know someone.
In that ‘getting to know someone’ phase lies the problem.
I would say that I have been to hundreds of dinner parties over the years and the number of times that people have sat there in front of 8 to 16 people and told them how much they hate their jobs, how annoying their colleagues are or worse, how much they dislike their boss – I have lost count!
I cringe because I am sure over the years previous staff members may have said that about working with me, for me or for a client of mine.
Now, I think I am a step ahead of the game or ‘bad pr’ because we have in our employment contracts that everything that happens at work is strictly confidential and what is entailed as confidential is detailed in depth. Our HR manager takes time to explain this to new employees just so that there is no misunderstanding and hopefully it makes them think twice before ‘bagging our brand’.
It is our brand that they are playing with or worse, our clients. We have invested heavily in looking after our brand, nurturing it, feeding it and watching it grow. We all have good and bad days and sometimes a company or job is not the right fit for the person in it and there are so many variables that are just out of our control.
To minimize employees doing the wrong thing, it’s important that leaders and employers set clear concise goals, effective guidelines and ensure that employees are heard. There are ways in which each small businesses employer can market and communicate better internally to safeguard what is happening externally.
Steps to cast a marketing eye over your staff to achieve better performance;

1.Set a clear vision with measurable goals that are shared with all employees. It is important that people know where a company is heading and what role they play in that picture.

2. Encourage employees to create their own goals personally and professionally. Engage in a coach to come in and help them work on what their goals are, what aspirations they have and how they can achieve them.
3. Communicate your goals and expectations with your employees and ask for their feedback. Get them to review your job performance.
4. Walk around the office and say hello to each and every employee regularly. If you have an open plan office, why not grab your laptop and work for a morning in the open plan area. Ask employees what they like and dislike about their jobs.
5. Cross-train employees and keep their minds active.
6. Invest in outside resources for training, up-skilling and well being. We are hiring a ‘WiseBrain’ expert in February to help employees with their memory. This is a sure winner because as we get older, we all start to forget things and this affects our confidence and our capabilities.
7. Have an open door policy. If someone has a new idea, listen and look at the pros and cons.
8. Celebrate successes, birthdays and special occasions
9. Encourage staff to have fun
10. Don’t gossip with your employees or let them know your personal problems

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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