How to be a Perfect Guest
After each Dinner Circle dinner party, the host can review their guests on Punctuality, Courtesy and Participation. Reviews build trust and community, but we chose those things because they’re also the secret ingredients to being a great guest. And one who gets invited back again and again.
So if you want to make a good impression, all you need to do is keep these three things in mind. And if you want to make a fabulous impression, there are also two tips that will really get you bonus points!
Punctuality speaks for itself. It’s best to arrive on time, or no more than 10 minutes early. If you are running late or can’t make it, make sure you contact your host if possibleto let them know.
Of course emergencies do happen;and most people understand if you just explain. But not showing up to an event that you’re expected to is very poor form, and shows lack of consideration and respect for the host’s time and effort.
Courtesy means checking or asking about the house rules, and being a gracious and respectful guest. If you’re not sure whether to take your shoes off, or if smoking is allowed, just ask. And a genuine compliment goes a long way! Telling someone how beautiful their house is, how good the food is, or how much you appreciate the effort they’ve put in, isn’t just nice for them, it can also raise their opinion of you quite a lot.
It’s nice to ask if you can do anything to help. Your host might be doing their best ‘swan impression’, appearing all calm and serene, but trying to do several things at once and making sure everyone’s happy. Just pouring some drinks or helping bring some plates through could help them relax and make their lives easier.
Relax and be yourself, but remember you’re in someone’s home for the evening and follow theirlead in terms of how polite or formal to be. Most of the time people relax a bit as they get to know each other, and after a couple of drinks of course, but let them set the tone. For example don’t use strong language if they’re not.
Participation is just about getting involved.Ask people about themselves and find out what they’re interested in; then listen. You don’t need to be super-confident or an amazing story teller to be entertaining, just genuinely interested in what other people are saying. People often love to talk about themselves!
Try to talk to everyone if you can, even if it’s just for a minute. When there are 8 people or less at the table that’s quite do-able, any more and it’s a bit harder. But you can often mingle with people before you sit down or after dinner.
It’s very important to introduce yourself properly when you, and other people, arrive. It sounds so obvious but you’d be amazed how many people don’t know this, or don’t do it properly. Even though nobody might know each other at first, it’s common for people to feel when they arrive that they are the odd ones out. So break the ice properly. Stand up (especially if you’re a man meeting a lady), shake hands, smile, say “nice to meet you” and tell them your name.
Remembering people’s name makes a huge difference; and it goes without saying, especially your host’s! It’s perfectly ok to ask them again later, we’re all human, but if you do remember then people will notice.
Here’s a secret top tip: To help you store people’s names better, repeat it back to them “Hi Sarah, nice to meet you”, and take a second to notice something about them (the more obvious the better). Like their sparkly dress, tattoos, or snake skin boots for example. Your brain will link the sound of their name to their features, and it’ll be much easier to recall.
All those things will help you make a good impression. But if you really want to set yourself apart, you might want to go the extra mile. Most people don’t, so it actually doesn’t take much effort to set yourself apart!
Two little things that can make a big difference are: buying a gift, and sending a follow up message. A small gift shows you really appreciate the time and effort your host put into the event, and you want to give something back. A box of chocolates, flowers or a little trinket can be great choices. You may want to bring it with you, or send something afterwards to say thank you.
The day after the dinner party, or on the way home, sending a quick message to your host, or anyone else you really got on with, says a lot about you. Just a simple thank you, or nice to meet you, leaves a great impression.
Dinner Circle Co-founder
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