In the second of a two-part series, the UK’s top introducer, Rachel Fay, shares her beginner’s guide to getting your guests talking
Helping your guests to mingle with others present and making an initial introduction for all those present is the first step in creating a social buzz. The next step is helping your guests to move on from conversations. I find that most people attending social functions report that this is the part they find hardest of all, even more difficult than saying hello to someone they’ve never met before. The best hosts know how to not only make introductions on behalf of their guests but also how to extricate their guests from a conversation that is no longer interesting them.
So, you’ve made the initial introductions, you’ve got people talking. There’s a nice babble of conversation in the room, now it’s time to keep people circulating. It’s up to you as the host to do this with style and panache. Your guests will take their lead from you as you are the one setting the tone. Make sure it’s a buzzy one! Here I’ll show you how to move a guest out of one conversation and into another.
Focus on one of the guests, perhaps someone you know who is not as socially confident as the others. Anya perhaps. Glance at the room to locate a guest who you think Anya would enjoy meeting, Harry say. Turn your attention back to Anya and approach her quite quickly. Don’t question now whether you think Anya would like to meet Harry, or vice versa – such doubts will diminish your own sense of confidence, which is important to impart to your guests.
Don’t worry too much about your other guests at this point – your focus for the time being is Anya. As you approach, try to make eye contact. If she’s engaged in conversation, wait until there’s a break. You’ll be picking up on a conversation in which you haven’t been involved, but it’ll be down to you to make a snap judgement as to whether this is the right moment. Like all skills, this will improve with practice.
Say: “Anya, Come and meet Harry” or “Anya, I’d like you to meet Harry.” Nine times out of ten, your guest will acquiesce. Wait for her to say some departing words to those in the group, and then move away with her. Don’t get involved in conversation with your other guests in the group.
Don’t question whether you think they would like to meet – such doubts will diminish your sense of confidence
Lead Anya across the room to Harry. On the way, you can tell her a bit about what she and Harry have in common if there’s time.
Harry won’t be waiting attentively for Anya to arrive. Chances are he’ll be talking to someone. Don’t worry about this – it’s your party, and interruptions are the nature of parties. It’s your job to decide who to introduce to whom. With any luck, Harry is ready to move on and will be delighted to meet your guest. If when you get closer, Harry is deep in conversation, don’t back off. It’s important to commit, and show confidence in your decisions.
Wait for an appropriate moment, then step forward and say, “Harry, I’d like to introduce you to Anya.” At this point, the guests talking with Harry will either take the opportunity to slip away discretely or they will stay put. If the latter is the case, introduce Anya to them too. It’s helpful at this point to give a brief line about Anya to kick off some conversation and integrate her into the group, such as what she has in common with Harry, but it may be that the group will quickly include Anya in the previous conversation.
As soon as you’ve made the introduction to Harry – and to anyone else still with him – step back and slip away.
Continue circulating among your guests, moving them on and mixing them in with other people. If you’re really ambitious, by the end of the party everyone will have met everyone else and you’ll be able to congratulate yourself, have another drink and wait for some effusive thank yous to pour in!
Previously: Part 1 Getting Started
Rachel Fay creates The Social Buzz at private parties. To book her for yours, contact her on 020 8743 1249 or at firstname.lastname@example.org