Remember before the pandemic when we used to make an early workout class, commute for an hour, work 8 hrs, then host a party? I have one question. How?! Two years later I’m working from home and a 4-hour networking event feels exhausting – and too crowded. But what’s the solution when you still want to be social?
Founder and author, Nick Gray, has it. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party – his party planning book is the secret sauce to remaining social minus the burnout. In it, he teaches how to build big relationships with small gatherings and he joined us on Coffee With Kim to give a live play-by-play.
07:41 The Best Day To Schedule A Party
09:53 Getting Guests To Leave Politely
17:30 How To Use Icebreaker Activities
22:44 Why You Should Host At Home
29:37 How Many People To Invite
40:58 Speed Round
Yes, you should set an alarm. One hour and 45 mins into your party, you can make your last call.
Giving guard rails and expressing the expectations, letting them know what to expect at the party, with even approximate agendas, the guest lists, little conversational nuggets of what to talk to people about. I include that throughout my book and how you can write that in only 30 mins or less to give conversational access points for guests.
The ideal size for your party is about 15 to 20 people for a small gathering. Less than 15 and there’s not enough energy in the room for people to create new connections and new conversations. For example,10 is actually more work for you as a host. It’s counterintuitive but the more people there are, the less work it actually takes.
Give yourself a long party runway, 3 weeks planning time. If you live a few minutes away, inviting somebody to your home is a special situation. It’s intimate and vulnerable. For 95% of the people I talk to, hosting at home is actually the best solution because you turbo charge your relationship. Inviting someone into your home is like going on a date with them, it’s very vulnerable and it creates a connection like no other.
Here’s what I do, I encourage everybody to collect RSVPs on an online platform. The one that I use is Mixily. Make your guest lists visible, it creates social proof, it shows people that they are not going to be the only one at the party and there’s also names that are listed.
Occasionally, for advanced hosts that have hosted 4 or more parties using my formula. I teach them something called the 24-hour reply-all thread. This is a very advanced move. It can fail but it can also be drastically successful and incredible. Incredible new connections are made from that thread. Set it up before the 3rd icebreaker, make an announcement like: “Hey everybody! Tomorrow I’m going to do a reply-all thread. I’m going to put everybody on CC. If you want to be included, I’m going to send this out. If you don’t want to be included, see me before the end of the night or email me so I can remove people that don’t want spam like this. For 24 hours only, I want everybody to write back to the email, put on your social lists, link to a charity that you support, if you’re starting a business, or looking for a job. Make your ask and mention it but it’s for 24 hours only.”
When you host your party on a non red-level day and give people 3 weeks notice, you will have more people say yes than that they’re not available. So the idea that Kim has that only 50% of people will come, that’s because in the past, we’ve invited them with little notice and on social competitive days. I will tell you though, that for me to get 15 to 20 people I need to invite 20 to 25, maybe sometimes 30. However, know that if you invite one person and they ask “Can I bring my partner? Can I bring my spouse? Can I bring my friend?” You’ll be surprised to get 15 to 20, you may only have to invite 20.
My best piece of advice for your first party, do not pull from the top shelf. Do not invite Kim to your first party. Kim is from the top shelf, she is a celebrity and we want to impress her and so at our first party, we’re going to invite our friends and neighbors. People that we feel safe and comfortable with. Your first party should be a low stakes affair. We want to minimize your stress at the first party.
1.) You should check out the episode “Business Etiquette” With Myka Meier
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Want To Learn 1 on 1 with Me?: I’m passionate about making YOU stand out at work. After a 45 minute training, Avery (aka my newest shining star) implemented my tactics and got a new job making $60k MORE than the last. Want some of that secret sauce for yourself? Check out more here.
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