Everyone knows a good host should be gracious, kind, and well-prepared. The real question is: What are some of the little touches you can employ to elevate your hosting performance from good to amazing? Here are a few tips to take your host game to the next level.
#1 Give all your guests a warm welcome
This should be obvious…but you never know! Greet all your guests as they arrive and spend at least some small portion of the party chatting with each and every guest. When possible, check in with everyone from time to time as well. “Making the rounds” is a hosting cliché for a reason. Help your shy friends feel comfortable by finding ways to introduce them to other people or asking them to help you with various tasks—a great excuse to chat and catch up.
#2 Make peace with the mess
Gatherings—especially large ones—are bound to get messy. Trash and clutter have a way of accumulating naturally anyplace where food and drinks are involved. Deal with any crises (spills, broken glass, etc.), but beyond that, just let it happen. This is one case where cleaning as you go just makes people feel uncomfortable. Relax, enjoy everyone’s company, and save the cleaning and the dishes for later. That said, if you’re anticipating raucous shenanigans and you happen to own a ton of valuables, it’s best to stow them behind a locked door before guests arrive!
#3 Read the mood
If people are lively and want to dance, crank up the volume! Similarly, if people seem to prefer relaxing and chatting, then lower the volume and make sure everyone has somewhere comfortable to sit. Your guests shouldn’t have to shout over each other to be heard. A good host pays attention to guests’ changing moods and identifies needs as they arise: is it time to bring out the backup wine or refill any bowls of food? If your party has a particular entertainment focus—perhaps you’re planning to play a board game or watch a movie marathon—let everyone know in advance so they know what to expect.
#4 Also, read the thermostat
Ever been to a party that starts off great but, as the night progresses, transforms into a veritable sauna? If your party has any dancing involved, you’ll probably want to turn down the temperature, crack a window, or have a fan handy. Even if you’re hosting a sit-down affair, body heat has a way of building up once you gather more than a handful of people in one room.
Hosting can be a lot of work—but don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself. It’s your party after all, and being a happy and relaxed host is often the best way to set your guests at ease. Follow these guidelines, and everyone will have a great time—you and your guests!