Whether you’ve just moved into your own place and are going to be having guests over for the first time, or if you haven’t hosted for a while and are a bit out of practice thanks to the Covid pandemic, putting on a hostess hat can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking to say the least.
There’s a lot of pressure to ensure everyone has a good time. We’ve all been to soirees where the atmosphere hasn’t been quite right and we’ve been counting down the hours to go home. The last thing you want is for your guests to feel this way.
The truth is, even if the food is bad or the entertainment is a bit lacking, as long as the hosting is good, the evening will be considered a success. If the hosting is bad, the whole evening will seem off, no matter how fine the wine is or how delicious the meal is.
That being said, becoming a good host is no mean feat. To help you avoid a catastrophic failure, here are five tips you can take on board to be a better host. It certainly takes practice, but if you implement the following five points, you’ll instantly host to a high level, no matter how many times you’ve done it before.
1. Greet every guest individually
The first step you can take to becoming a great host is to greet every guest individually. This will make every person visiting you feel welcome and valued. The last thing any guest want is to be overlooked by the host. Not only is it impersonal and cold, but bit can also make them feel as though you’re not grateful they’ve made the effort to turn up.
Make sure you consciously say hello to, hug and shake hands with every person. Depending on the size of your gathering, greeting everyone might be time consuming, but if you don’t, people will automatically feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, and that is often irreparable.
2. Don’t show any signs of stress
In line with making your guests feel valued and welcome, you need to ensure they feel at ease. Sure, you might be flapping over cooking the food and keeping on top of everyone’s drinks, but don’t let your guests know that. If you do, they might feel stressed for you and inclined to assist rather than relax. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help if necessary, but don’t project your stress onto guests or they might feel bad and as if they’re imposing.
3. Offer a drink as soon as people arrive
Don’t leave your guests thirsty or without a drink in hand. As soon as they’re through the door and you’ve said hello, offer up a drink. They might choose champagne or water; whatever they choose, make sure you serve it professionally. This might entail preparing ice and sliced fruit or learning how to decant wine. Whatever it is, a prompt and well-served drink will instantly show you as a host who knows what they’re doing, even if you really don’t.
4. Create a relaxing ambience
If you’re having people over, make sure you set the scene. No one is relaxed under bright artificial light or with clutter around them. Make an effort to create a cozy ambience with warm lighting, a tidy environment, clean surfaces, and plenty of soft seating.
5. Provide options
The final hallmark of every good host is to provide options. Always offer up multiple choices for food and drink, and put out grazing plates with variety. The last thing anyone wants is to eat a meal they don’t like and have to pretend like it’s nice, or to settle for a drink they wouldn’t normally choose. Provide options so everyone has something they like and the evening will go a lot smoother.