For exhibit and event professionals  

Dilemma: Can I be friends with Jim Beam?

February 7, 2012 By Editor

Several times a year, my company holds functions for important clients, and alcohol is always served. At the last one of these occasions, I imbibed a bit too much and behaved less than professionally. Are there ways I can limit my intake or the effects of alcohol? Or should I completely avoid drinking at client gatherings?

— Polly, Marketing Manager

It’s time for a shot of reality

Polly, unfortunately, you can’t change what happened. And you definitely can’t afford a repeat performance. Therefore, our readers suggest you:

  • Limit your intake.
  • Say good-bye to the booze.

Limit your intake

With just about everyone else imbibing around you, it’s understandable that you may want to fit in. If so, proceed with caution.

Debra Hindley describes how she tactfully takes part in a party.

“At company functions, it’s best to limit your intake to one or two drinks. I carry around the same drink all evening, and most of the time, I just drink sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice so it looks like a rosé.”

An anonymous reader also believes in the old switcheroo.

“As this is a company function, you’re still at work. Would you engage in this kind of behavior during normal business work hours? I would think not. Perhaps have one drink. Then, switch to tonic water and lime so you can look the part — not act it!”

Say good-bye to the booze

After one drink, you might be tempted to have another … and another. For this reason, abstinence may be your best choice.

Will Nicholas, CMP CME, adjunct professor, WJN exhibits and events, thinks one drink is one too many.

“You’re working, so never drink, even when the event is over. You could still get a call about one of your guests or a problem that requires your attention. You need to be on point.”

An anonymous reader explains why she refrains from drinking at events.

“I may sound like a prude, but I nearly always avoid drinking any alcohol at business functions. My reasons: 1. You make many first impressions at these events. If you stay alcohol-free, you’re certain to be at your best and socially appropriate. 2. No one will think less of you for not having a drink. Most people worth your time will respect you for it and not press. 3. You’ll like yourself better the next morning, especially if you’re traveling.

“People have a habit of rating those they meet. So, when my business hat is on, no ethyl for me.”

A marketing specialist sees another upside to passing on the liquor.

“Completely avoid drinking at client gatherings. Let the clients drink, and you can enjoy the show!”


  • Unless Polly has a problem limiting her alcohol intake, I don’t see anything wrong with her having one or two drinks during the course of an evening. However, if she’s unable to cut herself off, I’d recommend just drinking club soda with lime. It looks like a gin and tonic — but without the “kick.”

    What do you think? Should Polly risk losing control in an effort to fit in?

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