Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Party Tips - Conversation.

We've all been to parties where the conversation is awkward. Stilted. Superficial. Surface level.  Nothing past the basics of what you do or don't do for a living, how many kids you have or don't have, what area of town you live in, who you have employed for a housekeeper, etc. Comparing their lives with yours. Conversations that make me want to walk out the door and spend the evening somewhere else because I am simply bored. Safe conversations do not often lend themselves to getting to know others on a deeper level.

We have hosted our share of dinner parties, and one thing I have come to love are assigned seating arrangements. I love taking each of the guests personalities into consideration. Whether it is for events my husband and I have thrown in our backyard or parties carefully planned out with a client, we will sit down and discuss each individual guest and who would best be seated next to whom. We love placing outgoing personalities next to quieter individuals. Seating people near each other who share common interests. A great idea if children are invited is to alternate generations next to each other. Not only are children better behaved (hopefully) when sitting next to another adult as opposed to a peer, they are included in the dinner conversation. And each generation benefits from learning from the other.

Having trouble getting the conversation started? You can type in "conversation starters" into any search engine on the internet and a whole list will appear. Pick those topics that interest you. Topics that are relevant to the theme of your evening. Topics that pertain to your individual guests. For our fall dinner party, we wrote out conversation starters we got from Chris at Celebrations At Home. We tied them around apples and had each guest go around the table and share the answer to the question they had in front of them. Not everyone is naturally blessed with the art of conversation. However, it can easily be developed by taking a genuine interest toward others. Digging deeper is not always socially acceptable. There's an art to showing interest in the other person without appearing as though you are interrogating them. Something I myself am trying to learn!

*Photos taken by Courtney Burge.

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