Ever wonder how to entertain guests when it seems like your party is taking a huge nose dive? After hosting my fair share of events, including some that were less than successful, I’ve come up with a few tricks to nip the silence in the bud and bring the party back to life.
5 Ways to Entertain Guests and Bring a Dying Party Back to Life
1. Make sure you’ve properly introduced your guests
If your party includes guests from different circles of friends, introductions are key. While it’s ideal to introduce your guests to each other first thing, you can easily recover if you’ve forgotten to do so.
And, if you do your introductions well, there’s a better chance your company will naturally start to mingle.
Next time you introduce your guests, don’t just exchange names. Try adding tidbits of information like where you know each person from and something they might have in common. Doing so makes it easier to break the ice and gives your guests a natural way to strike up a conversation.
2. Assess how your space set up is affecting the mood
Once you’re in the thick of an event there is only so much you can do about the space set up. But, if there’s an easy fix to a bad space arrangement – use it!
Do a quick room assessment and see if something is messing with the flow of mingling? Maybe furniture is blocking a natural path or where you’ve set up the drink station is creating a bottleneck. If the furniture is small and easy to move or you have a better location to move a station to, do it! You can ask for help, people will appreciate the better flow and there won’t be any physical barricades.
3. Talk about your food
Food is a natural conversation starter – use it to your advantage! When you bring out a tray of new appetizers, let people know. Announce what’s now up for grabs and start the conversation.
Talk about the ingredients, how the food is prepared or ask if people can guess the secret spice. Maybe the recipe you’ve used is a family favorite or you have a special memory that inspired you to make it. Whatever it is, share it with your guests.
If you aren’t graced with follow up questions or people starting sidebar conversations, you can feed off your own comments. If you’ve shared that the food reminds you of a family vacation, ask someone if they have a food tied to a similar memory – you get the idea.
4. Give your guests a purpose – they need it!
People need purpose, even at parties! If you’re well organized there won’t be much work left to do on the day of the party. But, no matter how well you’ve prepared there will be napkins that need to be restocked, drinks that need to be poured and final preparations for the food. So, when someone asks if they can help – say yes!
Giving your guests a quick and easy job to do is a great way to help them feel more relaxed and comfortable at the party. And, it’s a great way to get people mingling. Ask a couple guests who don’t know each other well to get the initial round of drinks poured. Or, ask someone to offer around a tray of fresh appetizers (in essence getting them to talk to almost everyone in the group).
While some may cringe at the idea of the hostess making the guests do their work, it’s a great tactic to facilitate mingling without it looking like you’re desperate for people to talk. People tend to come out of their shells when they have a responsibility, especially so if that responsibility includes customer service.
5. Have you prepared an activity?
Almost any party, regardless of size, can benefit from having an activity. While people might act shy or “too cool,” almost everyone ends up having a great time when a fun activity has been thoughtfully planned and executed.
Even if you’re “not throwing the kind of party that requires an activity” or you don’t think the people you’ve invited are into games, have a backup activity planned anyway. If your party starts to flatline, an activity will help liven things up.
Not Every Party is Meant to be a Giant Success
Not every party is going to be a giant success. While a lot depends on you as a host, a lot also depends on your guests. And, sometimes the magic mix for a great party isn’t in the cards. But, if you feel like your event is closer to imploding then impressing, there are strategies you can try to set the course straight.
Whatever happens, keep trying! It’s always worthwhile to bring people together and make memories to share.
Do you have any good “how to entertain guest” tips? Or maybe a nightmare story of a party that flopped? We’d love to hear about it! Comment below.