Playing host can be really stressful and misguided guests can create annoyances while you get the last minute details in place. To avoid throwing your phone in the oven in hopes to stop the emails and texts with questions about the event, give adequate information the first time around. None of your friends want to be the problem guest but not enough information can leave them in the dark. Proper guest/host etiquette is an extremely important part of being a perpetual partygoer as well as a host. Here are tips on how to provide the best information for your guests as well as guest etiquette if you’re the attendee.
Set a Clear Start Time
As a host, make sure that there is no confusion regarding start time. Require any speakers or special guests to arrive forty minutes before they are set to go on, so they can relax for a bit before speaking, in addition to getting a lay of the land before they take the stage and both of you can be ready to start on time.
As a guest – don’t be late, but don’t be too early. There are rare occasions where being late is acceptable, for instance if there is an emergency last minute, but being late to an event is considered the ultimate crime. However, being extra early can cause the host additional stress, too. Show up ten minutes before start time, but showing up any earlier makes the host feel obligated to entertain you when they are still finalizing everything before the party begins. They feel required to offer you a drink or some place to sit and feel the need to accommodate you until things really get moving which can be a bit awkward.
Encourage Mingling and Networking
Many of your guests will come and be invited with a date. How many times have we gone to a party and spent majority of the time talking just with the person we came with? To facilitate guests mingling, create seat names and require guests to sit away or at a different table from the person they came with. It might feel awkward at first but your guests will be making friendly with their neighbors in no time. Most people will be grateful that they were given the chance to meet others when normally they might not have put themselves out there.
Offer A Coat Check
It is hard to feel relaxed and network when guests are stuffed inside their coats. Especially if the space is a bit tight, guests will feel uncomfortable moving around a lot in their jacket. A coat check ensures guests feel at their best and most comfortable.
Offer Name Tags
This tip may be more geared for meetings and business events, but it can be utilized in larger social settings as well. Nametags help guests remember names and help everyone avoid the weird fumbling of words while trying to remember if the person they are speaking to is named Nick or Nate. Fancy up the tags if the event is more formal than a business meeting to make them a bit nicer. Everyone hates icebreakers after all.
If the host doesn’t offer alcohol at a business lunch or dinner, guests shouldn’t ask. Guests typically follow the lead of the host before ordering alcohol, so as a host be aware that you might have to set the tone for the party. If you want guests to order as they please, say so. If you are hosting a dinner party and order a seltzer, most guests will feel obligated to follow suit (or at least should feel obligated).
Allow Personal Devices In Meetings
As long as guests are staying focused and aren’t scrolling through Facebook and playing games, phones and tablets should be welcomed. People like to take notes electronically because it is faster, and it’ll give guests the chance to use social media during the
event creating more hype, which is always a good thing. Advise guests to leave their phones on vibrate so there are no distractions and don’t allow any personal calls in the main dining or meeting area and if you see someone playing candy crush..well..crush them.
Make the Dress Code Clear
Feeling inappropriately dressed is one of the biggest buzz kills for guests. As a general tip for business attire, “your dress code should resemble the client you are meeting with.” The setting and nature of the event are also aspects to consider when dressing for an occasion. If you are hosting, make sure guests know what type of setting it will be from the look of the invitation and the location of the event. If the party is on a yacht, guests will assume to dress casually. If the location is a boardroom, guests know to dress conservatively. Give guests accurate clues so you won’t need to answer tons of emails and phone calls regarding dress code questions. For networking events, experts advise attendees to wear blazers and jackets with large pockets devoted for outgoing and incoming business cards.