Conversation. Good, stimulating and engaging conversation; that’s what people are all about! Conversation is an art form and is the substance of how we communicate. We can easily have a conversation with a family member, friend or acquaintance. But, when people are thrust into a social setting among strangers, they tend to come apart at the seams. Sometimes a conversation needs a jump-start. Life is about conversations. No one goes out socially to not speak to anyone. If we find ourselves in a social setting, chances are we are talking.
If we are hosting a party and invite ten or maybe fifteen guests, in all likelihood, there will be some who will not know one another. This is where our job as host comes into play. We want our guests to feel welcomed and assist them in getting to know one another. This leads to conversation. The first step is to introduce the guests to one another. There is a proper way to make introductions and a way to get the conversation going. Depending upon the makeup of our guests, we may have some people who are older, some who hold positions such as a Doctor, Professor or maybe even a Clergyman. Some may be various employees from the same company of different positions and tenure. The rule to remember about introductions is to always introduce a person of younger age, lower rank, least in position or achievement to the person who is older, of higher rank, position or achievement. For instance, if you are introducing a young man in his twenties named Tom to an older man in his sixties named Fred, you would say, “Tom, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Fred Simpson”. If a person has a title such as Doctor, Professor, Reverend, etc., be sure to use their title when making an introduction. Another example would be if you were to introduce a sales clerk named Bob to the Supervisor of a department named Susan. “Bob, I would like to introduce you to Susan Smith.” Always keep in mind that whenever we are the one doing the introducing, introduce the younger to the older, or lesser rank to higher, etc.. This is a protocol followed all across society- especially within the Diplomatic Community.
Where the real art begins is after the introduction. When we are the host, we know each of our guests. We know what they do for a living, what they like, where they’ve traveled, etc.. As a result, we know which guests have things in common. If, for instance, you introduce a Realtor to a Mortgage Broker, they share a great deal in common in business and can find common ground on which to have a conversation. Or, if two or more of your guests share the same hobby, travel to the same places or like the same foods, there is more than enough for them to hold a good conversation. As the host, it is our job to foster those conversations so that a good time can be had by all.
We should always be mindful to make sure that each guest is a part of a conversation. If we notice someone standing around by themselves and we are in a group conversation, we use our body to signify their being welcomed into the group. We should never have our back turned on someone who is standing alone. We should reposition ourselves and beckon them into the group and try to bring them into the conversation. We definitely do not want any guest to ever feel left out. This is how we play the role of consummate host.