Recently, I have been reading Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi. One of the chapters was about hosting dinner parties and it got me thinking about how my husband and I use to throw a lot more dinner parties before we both started grad school. We found that by inviting friends and family into our home, we strengthened friendships and got to know our guests much better.
Networking Tips: How to Throw a Great Dinner Party
Keith Ferrazzi writes about how powerful dinner parties can create wonderful memories and strengthen relationships. Breaking bread brings people together at the same table and is a means of reconnecting with those you care about the most. He stresses to make sure you find the right mix of people to invite to your party with the optimal number of guests between 6-10 people. He usually invites over 17 people since he finds there is a 20-30% acceptance rate.
Planning a Dinner Party Helps Strengthen Relationships
Think you don’t have enough money or a big enough house to host a great dinner party? Keith argues that anyone can throw a great dinner party and you don’t have to go all out trying to be a Master Chef. There is nothing wrong with a roasted chicken from the grocery store deli, salad, cookies and ice cream. But whatever you do, don’t forget the wine!
My new goal is to host a dinner party once a month. Would you like to come over for dinner? I often feel too busy to be an excellent host but I really want to strengthen relationships with my friends, family and acquaintances. This book pushes you to invite guests who are different from the normal group of people you hang out with. If you usually have dinner parties with the same group of people, your circle of friends will never grow.
Have you ever thought about using your party as a way to bring everyone together for a common purpose to help someone in need? For instance, why not have a party and make thank you cards for soldiers in Iraq.
Or have everyone coming to your home bring an unwrapped toy or a can of food. Or even throw a cooking party where everyone bakes for a family going through a rough time. If you are creative, the opportunities are endless! Your guests will bond knowing they have volunteered their time together to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Here are a few other tips to host a fabulous dinner party:
- Create a theme: Be creative and generate excitement!
- Use invitations: Devote some time and energy to invite your guests with a personal call, email, or a handwritten note.
- Don’t be a kitchen slave: Prepare the food ahead of time or just stop for takeout. Remember, the point is to spend time with your guests!
- Create atmosphere: Candles, flowers, etc.
- Forget being formal: Keep it simple, trying to create a 5 course meal will just stress you out!
- Don’t seat couples together: Mix and match to keep the conversation interesting.
- Relax: Above all, remember to have fun! Don’t let yourself get so stressed you are unable to enjoy the evening.