At some point, we might find ourselves having to open our doors to people we want to impress. This could be family or, as we’ll look at now, business associates or employers. How someone hosts a dinner says a lot about them and we want to highlight our qualities.
Before it begins
Hosting isn’t simply a matter of what happens on the day, but long before. One of the most obvious and easiest ways to remain professional is to ascertain the date of the dinner. Don’t cancel or postpone it. This makes you look disorganised and, even before the dinner itself, you are already making negative impressions.
Clear your schedule, constantly make sure there will not be interruptions and inform relevant parties well in advance. This means both the guests and those who will aid you in setting up the dinner.
A good way is to create invites digitally. A Google Calendar event is easy enough to create, letting anyone see and access relevant details whenever they like. This means invitees won’t feel too pressured to constantly find out info, since the info is readily available.
Make sure you get all relevant dietary information. You don’t want to offend someone or end up dealing with someone’s allergic reaction. This lets you decide about the meals, too, since you can ascertain whether you need to acquire lots of meals or one meal anyone can eat.
Variety, however, is a good idea since you don’t want guests forced to abandon their tastes.
This is also the time to decide on how the food will be prepared. Will you cook? Will you order from a restaurant or get caterers in? Depending on the guest size, you may not be able to cope by yourself. This could mean catering or getting help from loved ones.
This also is a good time to make sure you have the relevant items and kitchenware necessary to host.
Forbes advises that alcohol should always be on your mind, in terms of limitations.
“The meal is about business, not high times at your old school. It might be wise to stick with wine. Sip and savor it, and plan to have no more than two glasses at most. If one of your guests is getting into trouble, excuse yourself and discretely ask your server to refrain from refilling the glasses or bringing another bottle. If you must excuse yourself, do so only between courses.”
You also don’t want to create a situation that might make it awkward for guests who don’t drink or are driving.
Be helpful and friendly to guests. Start conversations, introduce people to each other. Keep a tally on personalities and show off your memory about particular jobs or loved ones. Make sure you don’t let the stress get to you. Perhaps excuse yourself occasionally to gather yourself.
You want to be in a position of knowing how the evening is going, steering it forward and, importantly, knowing how to end it.
With these in mind, you should have a successful evening on your hands.