The day of the party arrives. You know that all your advanced planning and preparation will make logistics go smoothly. Now it is time to be a host. You want your guests to feel they wouldn’t mind if the party went on forever. What makes a good host? How do you engage your guests? How do you make them feel comfortable and welcome?
The skills of a good host seem intangible. Hospitality is the art of making your guests feel comfortable. Your guests feel as if they were welcomed and honored. The best way to make that happen is to think of the end result: you guest will experience feeling welcome.
Your guests won’t notice the time, they are enjoying the moment. Here are five ways to ensure they feel that way.
- Your guests want to know how to enjoy your party. Start by setting the expectations for the party. The theme and decorations give them a sense of the party tone. Is it a rocking beach party with a popular DJ or an afternoon of high tea and classical music with a small string quartet? It seems obvious, but telling your guests the type of party goes a long way toward letting them know what activities they’ll enjoy. Setting the tone allows the guests to mingle without feeling self-conscious. They’ll dance spontaneously and enjoy conversations with other guests.
- Pamper your guests. From the moment they arrive they’ll feel you are taking care of them. Music is playing to set the tone. There’s a place for coats or someone to take them. Right away they’re offered a beverage, even if it is water. A plate of appetizers is readily available either on a table or from a server. Your guests are drawn to comfortable seating where they can enjoy the food and beverage and meet other guests.
Keep that welcoming spirit alive throughout the party. A new wine bottle is uncorked, the cooler is refilled, appetizers are replenished, and the music doesn’t stop. Details make a difference. The bathroom is stocked with toilet paper so no one has to ask or worse yet get caught short.
- You keep the drinks refreshed and snacks and treats available. Too much alcohol and too little food makes for a disastrous party. You build a sense of timelessness for the guest to continue enjoying. They don’t think about what time it is, or when to leave. Your guests want to continue staying in the moment enjoying the party and each other.
- Don’t rush it. Everything about you says relaxed. You enjoy the time and encourage your guests to do the same. If you have a main event you encourage your guests to linger over coffee or an aperitif. Music continues. Conversations continue. The diehard dancers are still dancing. Your guests will sense the continuing welcome.
- Engage with your guests. As a host you may spend time making sure everything is running smoothly. True hospitality is a subtle but welcoming presence that emanates from the host. During your party, talk with each of your guests. Roam around. Be present. Spend time with everyone there. Your guests will feel that they are part of the party and without them it wouldn’t be the same. Giving those three minutes or more to everyone there makes them feel they belong. They won’t know why, but you will.
The more you are yourself, the more your guests will feel your hospitality. The party theme lets them know what to expect. The music, beverages, food, and ambience all reflect your hospitality. You keep the supplies available and guests immersed in the spirit of your party will want to linger. Your personal greeting and conversation with each guest gives them the sense that they are part of the experience.
Let your personality shine through in every aspect of your party. Your guests will relax and enjoy the event. And, you will know that being a host is simple when you let hospitality shine.