Successful parties and events usually mean there was lots of mixing, mingling, smiles and laughter. Socializing and intermingling throughout the room for some comes easily. For others, entering a room full of people whether known or not can be a very stressful thought. You’ve probably been at that party where there is a person just lingering on the perimeter of the room, sipping their drink, giving the occasional awkward smile and seemingly not participating in the party atmosphere. For an organizer, you want to encourage every guest to have a fabulous time circulating, meeting and chatting with others; thus assisting in making the party fun for all and a success.
The ability to comfortably mingle at a party is an art. You might have been born with the gift of gab in any setting but some were not. It takes a dash of confidence and sprinkling of intrigue and interest to outwardly make yourself around a room introducing yourself and starting conversations with others; particularly those you don’t know. As a party or event planner there are a few things you can do to encourage mingling of your guests even if it’s something they normally are not comfortable doing by providing topics of discussion or activities.
Establish a Theme
Party themes are a great way of encouraging conversation between guests right from the beginning of the event. Whether costume related or just themed decor, guests will have something to talk about immediately when they enter the scene. A theme related signature drink for all is a great party starter where guests will ‘cheers’ each other and be inspired to talk more. Giving guests a topic of discussion other than the classic fallback weather related talk is a good idea. Having lots of theme related eye candy is entertaining for guests and is sure to encourage the early chatting you’re hoping for.
Not to be over done, party games can be a great way of encouraging guests to circulate with others and comfortably mingle with a purpose. I have tried the ‘Sticker Game’ with great success. Guests are given a card of 20 party stickers (preferably drink/party related) when they arrive to the party with the task of being the first to get rid of all their stickers by placing one discreetly on each guest without getting caught. If caught ‘stickering’ a fellow guest you must take the sticker back but if falsely accused of ‘stickering’ then you can automatically put one of your stickers on that person. A prize displayed for the prospective winner is great and encourages party movement and competition.
Another option is to give the attendee’s a guest passport with all names of guests listed on a folded card along with a coloured marker. Guests must attempt to meet each person on the list at which point they can check off the name on the passport with the prospective guest’s marker colour. When all names have been checked with corresponding colours they can enter their passport for a draw.
You may have heard of events where after a certain period of time (like 5-10min) a bell is rung and guests must move on to speak to another person at the event. What a great idea for encouraging guests to circulate and meet others. We once had a beach party and when the music changed to JAWS theme the guests had the option of having a shot out of a ‘fish bowl’ concoction with floating jelly sharks! (I know…crazy but effective in stirring conversation and laughter!) Whatever the ‘trigger’, the point is getting people to move and join with others.
Photo booths at events can be amazing at getting people to step out of their shell and become someone else for a moment with cool, inspiring and fun props. Feather boas, a variety of hats, crazy glasses are just some ideas to have available for guests. We’ve had parties where we hire a photographer to move through the party taking snaps of groups of guests. Not only is the photo specialist primed to bring people together for fun pics, but having a printer available where the photos can then be posted at the party encourages even more laughter and chatter among the guests. The photos also make great party favours.
Having some form of entertainment at your event like a musician, magician, caricature artist, special guest, hypnotist, imitation tattoo applications, etc. all motivate people to begin conversations with others and circulate throughout the party. Picking something that would fit with the feel and mood of your event and be enjoyable for guests is important.
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