It’s a Friday at 4:00pm at your office.
Your coworkers are making happy hour plans.
You hear a few folks talking about how they’re going to meet up for drinks.
You’re sitting at your desk, pretending to be in deep concentration on the spreadsheet on your computer screen.
But the only thing on your mind is…
“How come they didn’t invite me?!”
Does this sound familiar to you?
5:00 rolls around and your coworkers excitedly scurry out of the office for a fun night of cocktails and office gossip.
While they’re kicking back drinks, you pack up your computer, head home on your crappy commute and watch Netflix alone for the rest of the night.
Let me hit you with a dose of reality.
The reason why you didn’t get the invitation is because you’re not perceived as being “social.”
No one wants to invite the “quiet guy” to the happy hour, because he’s only going to make it awkward and uncomfortable for everyone else.
But here’s the good news guys, you can take control of your social life.
Doesn’t this sound like a fun night?
You are entertaining a group of close friends at your place. Everyone there is hand-selected and invited to be there, drinks are flowing and you can have conversations with people you want to talk to.
You learn that one of your coworkers shares a passion for mountain biking, another coworker who you’ve hardly ever spoken to things your bachelor pad is pretty cool.
Doesn’t that sound better than watching Netflix solo?
Here’s the secret. Instead of being worried about if you’re invited to an event, you’re going to take control and create your own event.
Today I’m going to share 5 simple steps to host social events in a way that’s authentic and easy.
Here are the benefits of hosting a get-together:
- You get to control the invite list
- You’ll be seen as a “connector” by inviting different friends from different social groups to comingle
- Your friends will be grateful for a nice get-together that will likely include food and drink. It’s one less night of cooking and prepping for them!
- You can talk to people in an intimate environment. An environment completely controlled by you!
- You can invite whoever YOU want.
- It’s much cheaper than going out
Hosting a party at your home has so many benefits and it’s not as intimidating as you think it is! Here’s how to do it in 5 steps while saving money, time and cleanup.
Step One: Pick A Date 2-3 Weeks In Advance
So you’ve decided that you’re going to host an event. Awesome!
Simply select a day that works best for you 2-3 weeks in advance. I recommend a Saturday night so you have the whole day Saturday to clean your place and prepare. Most people find Saturday an easy night to get together as well since most people don’t need to work the next day.
I recommend planning 2-3 weeks ahead so you can give people notice and also get enough lead time to have a confirmed head count before the get-together. If people want to make it and have other weekend plans that weekend, they also have the option to shift things around since they have a few weeks’ notice.
Step Two: Invite People
This is my favorite part about hosting, you get to decide the people that attend your event. You’re totally in control.
Have a crush on someone? Invite them! Have you been wanting to turn an acquaintance into a deeper friend? Invite them! Want to reciprocate an invitation when someone treated you to drinks or dinner last time you hung out? Invite them!
Also, one of the best thing about hosting people at your place is that it’s much cheaper than going out. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring drinks or appetizers or split the tab with you.
When you send out the invitation, be sure to include the following pieces of information:
- Do you want them to bring anything?
- Can they bring a friend?
- What time does it start
- Where is it
- Is it casual/formal? What’s the tone
- Give a reason- people are more likely to say yes if you give them a reason (even if it’s a silly one)
Here’s an invitation script you can use to send an email. But you can also use Facebook, text or simply call up the people you want to invite. I like to send invitations by more than just one channel. For example, if I invite someone via Facebook I also like to follow up with a phone call.
Hope you’re well! I’m hosting a get-together at my place on Saturday XX date since it has been a while since I’ve hosted. It’s going to be super casual, just having some appetizers and drinks with cool people. I’d really love it if you could make it.
If that works, let me know at least a week before the party so I can get an accurate headcount. I’ll be buying most of the food and drinks (soft alcohol) but if there’s something particular you want, feel free to bring it!
Finally, if you want to bring a friend or two you’re more than welcome to.
Let me know if that would work!
Step Three: Shop On The Day Of
For most guys, this is the scariest part. Here’s the good news, I got you covered. Here’s a simple grocery list. Take this list to the grocery store with you.
Don’t forget, if you’re planning ahead you can also have your guests help you with the grocery list. Feel free to go above and beyond and get more stuff, depending on the type of party you want to have. But here’s a minimum list:
- Alcohol: I prefer serving soft alcohol like beer and/or wine. A wine bottle can serve about 4-5 glasses. If you’re buying beer, I’d budget for 2 bottles per person.If it needs to be chilled (white wine or beer) throw it in the fridge as soon as you get home. If you’re buying hard alcohol, don’t forget mixers like juice and soda water. Also, feel free to ask guests to either pitch in or bring a drink of their choice.
- Drinks: Grab a few different liters of soda and have water on-hand
- Food: Pick 3 of the following appetizers (pre-made is totally fine!)
- Crackers and cheese
- Chips and salsa
- Chips and guac
- Cut up fruits
- Cut up veggies and ranch dressing
- Pita and hummus
- Nut mix
- Trail mix
- Paper/plastic products– this allows for easy cleanup
- Buy a candle (bonus)
Step Four: Set The Ambiance
When you’re inviting people to your home you want to make sure that your place is neat, clean and ready for guests. One thing to take into account given your headcount is how people will sit or stand.
You can get creative and use pillows or blankets on the floor if you don’t have enough chairs or places to sit.
Also keep in mind that people end up congregating wherever the food and drinks are located so don’t put the food/drink table right at the entrance as it will create a bottleneck.
Placing the food and drinks deeper inside your place will encourage people to walk further inside and hopefully spread out a little bit. You can also separate the food and drink stations to encourage people to move around and not huddle around just one table. If your place isn’t big enough to accommodate for that, then no big deal!
You can also separate the food and drink stations to encourage people to move around and not huddle around just one table. If your place isn’t big enough to accommodate for that, then no big deal!
I like to put out the food and drinks for people before they arrive, that way I’m not running around as guests walk in. I can welcome them, introduce them to other people at the party and fully engage with them.
Also, think about an easy music solution like a Pandora, Soundcloud or Spotify playlist. I like “Chill House” on Spotify, but find a playlist that suits your style. I have a small but powerful Bluetooth speaker and this usually suffices for small get-togethers.
Step Five: Take Social Initiative
As guests trickle in, make sure they are all introduced to each other.
To encourage even more connecting, when you’re introducing people, reference a common interest between them. At the least, you can give a bit of background on how you’re connected to both people.
Here are some examples:
Hi Brad, come here. I want you to meet Jane. Jane and I work together and she’s really into cycling. I know you’re into cycling and just finished a big race, so I thought you’d have a lot to talk about.
Hi Josh, this is my best friend Mark. Mark and I played football together in college and were roommates for a year. Mark, Josh and I work on the same team and we both share a love for making references to Jim Carrey movies.
In most cases, at least one of the people will take the baton from you and keep the conversation going. By seeding their conversation with some common ground, you’re making it much easier for them to have a natural conversation with each other.
You can also be the one to spark conversations if people aren’t separated out into groups. As the host, it’s your job to get some conversations flowing. Here are some topic ideas for your convenience:
- Current events– like sports teams, news headlines, pop culture, internet memes or trending topics (pro tip: check hashtags on Twitter or Facebook for some more ideas)
- Brag about your guests– perhaps your friend Tony just got promoted, make him feel good in front of the entire group. It will make him feel good and spark conversation about what he does, his new position, etc.
- YouTube videos– at a recent party I was at, each guest got to play their funniest YouTube video and it was so much fun! It got people laughing and talking seamlessly
- Ask their opinion– have you been debating asking for a raise or asking a girl out? Ask your guests what they think you should do. People love sharing their opinions and you’ll spark some fun conversations making yourself the topic of conversation
Hosting people at your place allows you to be in control. You get to select the people that will be there, the food, drinks and the ambiance. Additionally, you’ll be able to have much deeper conversations with people that you like and maybe even connect different friends from different social groups.
Don’t be intimidated to host, it’s super easy and as I showed you can be done in five simple steps. Finally, don’t forget to take social initiative at the party by introducing guests and starting conversations it will help break the ice and get people talking.
This is a guest post by Katrina Razavi, communication coach and founder of CommunicationforNerds.com. If you liked this article, visit her site to sign up for a free three-video mini course called: How to Shut Up that Inner Voice & Beat Awkward Conversations. It covers six secrets to social confidence, the #1 strategy to improve your life and how to have natural