Last updated: September 6, 2023
How do you meet people when you’re new in town?
Ying C. decided to read my book because she wanted to build her network and make new friends. She accepted the challenge to host her own 2-hour cocktail party!
In this case study, you will learn:
- What inspired her to host a party
- How she doubled her RSVP numbers only two days before her gathering
- How you can use flyers to meet your neighbors
- Advice for hosting a party of your own
Why you should listen to me: Hi! My name is Nick Gray. When I moved to NYC, I didn’t know many people and I wasn’t good at “networking.” I learned how to host parties that people wanted to be invited to. Now I’ve hosted hundreds of events all over the world and made lots of new friends doing it. New York Magazine once called me a host of “culturally significant” parties.
Meet Ying in Queensland, Australia
Ying is a freelance accountant who loves to read, travel, and meet new people.
She recently moved to a small town in Australia that is closest to Queensland. This small town has only 66,000 residents.
It is full of workers in mining and other industries. Many people travel for work. Ying works from home, so it is hard to organize meetups.
But Ying wanted to meet her neighbors and colleagues. She was determined!
“My audacious goal is to be known in this small-ish town as someone who hosts invite-only cocktail parties that generate great conversations.”
How did she go from knowing nobody to having a full house of smiling people? Let’s find out.
Ying’s Cocktail Party
Ying held her party at her new home in Queensland. She invited her neighbors, friends of friends, and people she met through local community activities.
Her invitation list included people from:
- Badminton club
- Networking events on LinkedIn
Two days before her party, she messaged me to tell me that only 8 people were coming.
“Oh no!” I said. The energy at a small party is so much less fun than when you meet the minimum number of recommended guests.
If you have less than 15 people at your party, it is more stressful for you because guests will:
- Sit down and have a single-track discussion
- Leave early because they are bored
- Not meet as many people
I told Ying that she should work hard to aim for 15 people, and that I would help her with some ideas to grow her guest list.
In the end, 17 people came to her party! It was a huge success. Here’s how she did it.
How to Boost Your Guest List
- She invited her Core Group first. She got 5 people to confirm her proposed date and time. These were a few friends she met from a Badminton Club and her Toastmasters club.
- She tried inviting colleagues and some friends of friends. Many were traveling or not available, but she got a few RSVPs
- She made simple flyers to introduce herself to her neighbors and tell them that she was hosting a small happy hour. She put these in people’s mailboxes and this ended up being a big win.
Advice For Hosting a Party
It can be intimidating to meet new people in a new city. Hosting a party is a great way to not only deepen friendships but get introduced to other people, too.
These are some tips and tricks that Ying used which you might find helpful for hosting your own gathering or meetup.
Decide on a Good Date
The date Ying set happened to coincide with some internal work events. When she reached out beyond her Core Group, she found that most of them from work were out of town. Instead of changing the date, she got creative with how and who she invited.
Ying’s advice is to keep sending out RSVPs. Every hour before the party is a window of opportunity to invite people, so keep going until it is party time!
Make Flyers to Invite Neighbors
Because Ying needed more guests for her party, she had to get creative.
She made simple flyers and walked around her neighborhood, putting them in mailboxes along the way. It told guests when to be there, what to expect, and why Ying was inviting them to a party.
Here are Ying’s flyers:
This is a great way to increase your attendance numbers and have a successful party with more people.
For another example of flyers, see what Sujan did.
Use the Book as Your Guide
One way to be prepared is to use my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party as a tactical, step-by-step guide to throwing a great party.
You’ll know exactly how to structure the party, how to make invites that people respond to, what snacks and drinks to buy, and what icebreakers get people talking.
Be Prepared, But Don’t Stress
Two hours at the party flew by with the food and drinks hardly touched. Everyone was so busy chatting that they didn’t eat or drink much!
Ying recommends being prepared by following Nick’s advice in the book but not stressing so much about everything.
“The book has you do so much work in advance that the actual party is a cakewalk,” Ying said. “It was a very easy party to host.”
Here are two things that Ying shared with me during my post-party debrief:
Q: How did you make your party your own?
A: I allowed guests to wear shoes into the house! I also modified the ice-breaker question. My second round of ice-breaker questions was, “What is something you like about Gladstone?”
Q: What did you learn from hosting your party?
A: I need to improve my ability to break people from their friends. There were two 5-people groups that stuck to themselves most of the time. I will work on that at my next party.
Ying’s goal of expanding her social network at her new home in Queensland was a success.
She met a lot of her neighbors. And she had a great time challenging herself when it came to securing enough RSVPs. She’s already planning her next happy hour.
Ying learned that:
- You don’t have to personally know everyone who comes to your party.
- It is a great excuse to meet new people!
- Keep inviting people until it’s party time.
- 15 people minimum is the sweet spot for a good gathering.
Congratulations to Ying on an excellent first party in a small town. She is making new friends and building big relationships.
Hello, My name is Nick Gray. In my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I provide helpful guidance on how to host a great party for any event. I wrote this book to support anyone attempting to meet new people and develop closer bonds with their community.
When is your party? Send me an email and I will give you some bonus tips, including a pre-party checklist that you can print out. Plus I’ll answer any question you have, free of charge. I love talking about parties and I’m on a mission to help 500 people host their first party.