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Corrections and Updates

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Trends in hosting can change over time.

Certain suggestions in my book may need to be updated.

This page will list those.

Special note from the author: Hi! Please email me if you are planning your first party. I love hearing from my readers and I’m on a mission to get 500 people to host their first party with my book. If you email me, I’ll send you some bonus resources and you’ll help me reach my goal of 500 verified parties. My email is [email protected] or my actual real cell phone number is +1-917-635-9967.

Adding “Frequently Asked Questions” to RSVP

This is more of a bonus than an update: I often add a small list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to my RSVP page. You can do this if you want! But not required. Here’s what one of mine looks like:

Frequently Asked Questions for the party tonight

Can I arrive late?
Sure! We are very casual tonight. The goal is to be chill, have fun, meet some new friends, have a drink.

Can I bring anything?
Absolutely not required. If you insist, a cheap bottle of wine or something you’d drink.

Can I bring a friend?
Maybe! Please ask me first. I’ll ask them to RSVP this event so I have their email for the reminder messages and guest list.

Guest Bios (March 2023)

For the Guest Bios — when including them in my party reminder messages, I have started to include a link to a Google Doc where the guests can add or edit their guest bios. Email me if you have questions about why I’m doing this or to see one that I’ve made for my recent parties. See what it looks like in my messages below:

screenshot of some Guest Bios in an email message
Sample screenshot from one of my recent party emails showing the Google Docs link for people to add or edit their bios.

A few tips:

  • Social links, like LinkedIn or Instagram, within your Guest Bios are good. Add them if you have time!
  • Make sure to set the permissions of your Google Doc so that anyone with the link can edit it.
  • This should be a simple and quick copy & paste. No fancy formatting is needed, but perhaps you can bold people’s names.

Supplies (Oct 2022)

Regarding small plates or napkins: I’ve not included them in the shopping list because

  • they generate excess trash and party mess, and
  • they give you an excuse to stress more about food.

If you feel that you must have plates or napkins, instead dial back your food and snacks so that you don’t need them. Remove salsa and guacamole and anything that isn’t finger-food or spill-friendly.

Day-after email (29 Aug 2022)

When you say: “Let me know if I can’t invite your to the next one!” Expect that less than 10% of your guests will reply. It is normal to not get a lot of replies! People are busy. Or they don’t reply as much to mass emails. Don’t worry. I bet everyone had fun, and they all want to be invited to your next party. Keep the faith and keep going strong.

I’m considering removing this line from my suggested day-after email template, but I’m not sure yet.

Even More Advanced Icebreakers Update (Aug 2022)

On page 200 of the paperback copy of my book, I listed this as an advanced icebreaker:

  • “What’s a compliment someone gave you that you still think about?”

DO NOT use this as an advanced icebreaker. I now realize that this question doesn’t add much value to the room. Below are the advanced icebreaker questions you should use for your party instead:

  1. What’s the best piece of media you have consumed recently?
  2. What’s your most recent favorite purchase under $100?
  3. What’s one of your favorite secret spots or life hacks for this city?

The advanced icebreaker that I use most often is #1, the best piece of media question.

Assorted Updates (Aug 2022)

Icebreakers: Urgency

As a reminder: there should be a sense of urgency to your icebreakers. Especially if you are going to do three of them, which I still recommend. Most hosts are not running their icebreakers FAST enough. Never sit down for your icebreakers.

Food: Less is more (and cookies)

After talking to dozens of readers who have hosted a party after reading my book in July, one consistent remark was: people ate a lot less food than we imagined. (My parents even said that!) That being said, cookies or some sort of simple sweet snack seems to go over well.

Question: You don’t mention anything about plates. Do you just provide napkins, or do people just come to graze at the snack table?

Answer: The short answer is just grazing and no plates or napkins needed.

The longer answer is that you can absolutely buy napkins and plates. However, I have specifically excluded them because I found that it is a slippery slope. Sometimes people want to buy fancy plates and then they want to buy more snacks in order to fill up the plates.

In general, my book and my formula is meant to be a series of constraints in order to show you the MVP, that is the minimum viable party.

You could think about this like an operating system for gathering. Once you understand how the basic operating system works, then you can add your own software such as plates and napkins and additional food to better fit you and your friends.

Guest Bios: Do more, add social links

My book says “Do guest bios for half or more of your guests.” I now suggest you do guest bios for almost everyone at your party. More guest bios drives more engagement. See the recent bios that I wrote for my sister Emily’s party here as examples.

For bonus points, you can link their name in the Guest Bios to their social media profile on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.


Want to suggest an addition to this page? Please email me.

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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