Bert: Welcome everybody. I am super excited. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a guest in a very long time. Today on the show, we have Nick Gray. We’re going to be talking about Nick’s book and it’s The 2-Hour Cocktail Party and hold onto your seats because you’re going to love it. I found out about this book and it, you know, at first I was like, what? But man, once you get into this book, it is a game changer for you and your business. Nick Gray started and sold, not one but two successful companies, Museum Hack and Flight Display System. He is the author of the new best-selling book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, a step-by-step handbook that teaches you how to build big relationships by hosting small gatherings. Nick Gray, welcome to the show. [Additonal Links and Resources at the bottom]
Nick: Hey, thank you. I’m excited. I’m excited too.
Bert: Ah, Hey, we’re both excited. It’s a phenomenal idea. And you know what? I love this. Not only is it a good book, but just from a marketing copywriting point, you know, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party up here, how to build big relationships with small gatherings. It’s a great hook. And so my first question to you is what got you to write the book? What was happening? Give us the background on how you got to the point of writing the book.
Nick: Um, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I moved to Austin, Texas about a year and a half ago and I knew the exact playbook of what to do because I hosted so many events in New York City. And when I moved to New York 15 years ago, same thing, I did not have a lot of friends. I didn’t, I was not successful at networking events. They were too busy and crowded and frankly, nobody wanted to talk to me. So I decided to bring the party to me. Instead of me going to these parties, I’d bring the party to me. And I started to host my own events. I hosted hundreds of them and I taught some people how to host their own. And when my friend, his name is Tyler, moved to Little Rock. He didn’t know anybody, but his wife’s family. And he said, Hey, Nick, will you teach me how to do this? That was about six years ago. And so since then, I’ve taught about, you know, maybe 60 or 70 people how to do it. And we had a Google Doc that we just shared in it. And then I made this into a book.
Bert: Yeah, that’s fantastic. And what’s so great about your story, there is, you know, you had a problem, you solved it, and then that light bulb moment where you realize, well, this will probably solve problems for a lot of people, right? I mean, it’s phenomenal.
Nick: Yes, exactly.
Bert: You know what your story reminds me of, I cannot remember the author, but it goes something like this.
I went looking for a friend and found none, I decided to become to a friend and found many.
Nick: I like that.
Bert: Yeah. That’s what you remind me of. You want, you know, again, it’s one of those things. If you go out looking for friends, it’s going to be hard because you know, people are, you know, we’re all kind of weird sometimes, but by causing people to come to you and making it a fun environment, you made, I’m assuming tons of friends.
Nick: That’s exactly right. And for your listeners, I use those friends to launch my last business. And so what’s the purpose? Why make these friends, why do we build our network? I did it to launch my last company, which is Museum Hack, which I grew to 60 employees and $3 million in annual sales. I don’t say that to brag, but just to put it into scale that you can use your network and even friends to help launch a company.
Bert: I love it. I love it. All right. So real quick, what was Museum Hack? I got to, I guess you talk about it, but give me a synopsis of Museum Hack.
Nick: So Museum Hack was a weird business and it may be the weirdest business you’ve ever had on here. We did renegade museum tours held at some of the biggest museums in America. So the Metropolitan Museum in New York was where we started. And you’re probably wondering, what is a renegade museum tour? And that is that I would hire people like standup comedians and Broadway actors to lead these tours at the museum, not the docents or the volunteers. They were my staff who worked for me, not the museum. And so I would tell and share the juicy gossip about the art and the backstories and all that stuff. So it became a very popular tour activity for visitors and for tourists, but then where we made our money was we took that tour and we sold it to companies as a team building experience.
Bert: Oh, cool.
Nick: It was really cool because then that $59, you know, tourist tour became $179 corporate experience.
Bert: I love it. You know, and again, this is a great marketing strategy. You know, a corporate event, a corporate would call it a team-building experience. It’s going to have more value where you can charge $170 versus the average consumer who’s not interested in that, Hey, they may pay you 50 or 60 bucks. But again, it’s just a quick marketing thing. You see this all over the place, uh, very common. You can buy, what do you call it?
I see this at the store quite a bit where you can go and buy a bag of grapes. And they’re like, let’s say $2 a pound, but if you buy a box of grapes, $7 a pound.
Nick: Right. Yes. Yes.
Bert: It’s all marketing.
Nick: Funny. How funny is that?
Bert: That’s incredible. All right. So let me ask you this, when you’re putting the book together, when you were writing the book, anything that stuck out, any big surprise or aha moment as you’re putting the book together?
Nick: Yes. I did have some aha moments, but have any of your guests asked you about the sign that’s behind you about discipline equals freedom? Because I’m just curious about it because it’s resonating with me.
Bert: Uh, yes. Uh, every now and then somebody says, Hey, that’s a cool sign. And you know, I’ve heard that discipline equals freedom in multiple places. And I just it’s so true, right? Whether you’re in a relationship, whether you’re going to finish a book, whether you’re going to write a book, whether you’re going to get in better shape, discipline is required for that success or that freedom, right?
Nick: A thousand percent. And it jumped out at me when you asked me about writing my book, because I got to tell you, I would not wish writing a book on my worst enemy. It was a tough process for me, and I’m a perfectionist. And if you’re a perfectionist and maybe stick to social media, because you can throw it out there and you can just whatever, it’s social media who cares.
Nick: But on a book when everything has to be perfect, because you get one chance and mine is very prescriptive, you’ve looked through it and you’ve seen there’s checklists. It’s very tactical and practical. It’s not long narratives you read through, and there’s a lot of stuff to do. It’s a handbook. So anyhow, I did that. I think one of the, one of the most helpful things that I could share. I can tell your listeners this, the best book that I’ve read for advice about if you ever want to write a nonfiction book. This guy wrote this book called Write Useful Books. I think his name is Rob Fitzpatrick. And I wish I would have read that book much earlier along my journey. And it basically just says, get your stuff out there, put it on LinkedIn. Don’t wait, don’t write your book in a vacuum. So that one day, surprise, you have a 50,000 script manuscript. No! Start to put your chapters out on LinkedIn. Test things, see what resonates, just like you’re doing, have a podcast, share it on YouTube and like talk your ideas out. Don’t make them in a vacuum,
Bert: Man. That is phenomenal. I’ve never thought about putting a chapter, releasing a chapter at a time on LinkedIn and stuff like that, which not only could you do that on LinkedIn, obviously we could do it on Facebook or other social media platforms, but what a really smart idea, you know, I remember, many, many years ago, Ken Blanchard, I talked to Ken Blanchard about his book. The, was it the, uh, The One Minute Manager?
Nick: Wow. He’s a legend. Yeah. Cool.
Bert: Yeah. And so I tell you, he did something kind of what you’re talking about. This is before social media, but he basically had his book written or whatever. And, and a lot of people don’t know this. He also did a self-published deal before then of course, because it blew up, then somebody offered him a deal, but he basically wrote everything out, stapled it together and shared it in shared copies with friends, got feedback, and then, you know, adjusted accordingly. So, but I love the idea that nowadays we can use LinkedIn, we can use Facebook, and we can use all different types of ways of getting feedback. And like I said, not waiting till the last minute.
Nick: Exactly. And not waiting because maybe you get feedback on LinkedIn and everybody’s blowing up and you know, I got to move this chapter earlier. Don’t wait until the end. I did that real quick. Can I tell you, because you said you read my book chapter about the name tags and I used to have the name tags chapter way at the end. And people said, this is your best chapter. Put it, move it up, move it up. So I did. Yeah.
Bert: I love that. Yeah. I love that. I love it. It’s phenomenal. And we’re going to get into it again. I’m going to plug the book because it’s awesome. It is The 2-Hour Cocktail Party by Nick Gray. And it is a recipe, a blueprint, a step-by-step on how to throw these small gatherings, these small parties. And what I love about the book or one of the things that you talk about in the book is starting on time and finishing on time and getting people in and out in those two hours. And that’s why you can have these parties during the week versus having a long extended party on a Friday or Saturday, your focus is, Hey, we’re going to get together for a couple of hours. We’re going to have some fun, come over. And I thought it was phenomenal. I thought it was phenomenal.
Nick: Thank you for saying that.
Bert: You bet. Now, okay. So since you brought up name tags, let’s talk about name tags. Uh, how did the whole name tag thing come about? Because you know, when people think of name tags, they’re like, oh, they’re so old-fashioned. That’s what I thought, name tags. That’s such a, what do you call it? Uh, I dunno. It’s such an
Nick: Corporate . . .
Bert: Yeah. It’s so, all right. So how did the whole name tag thing come about?
Nick: So name tags came about because frankly, I’m bad with names and maybe someone like yourself too, you meet a lot of people and you have a podcast, you have a show, you put videos out. A lot of people know who you are. And it’s hard for us to keep track of everybody. And that happened to me cause I’m hosting a lot of museum tours and other stuff, and I’m bad with names. So I did name tags, but I specifically remember that I went to this fancy party in New York City. I still lived in New York.I lived there for 13 years. I loved it, but I’m happy in Texas now. But I went to this fancy party and I saw this woman who I knew who was a CEO of a company. And she comes running up to me and she’s like, Nick, oh my God, it’s so good to see you. And I’m mortified. I’m frozen in my tracks. She’s waiting. She’s like, and are you going to say my name? And I was like, hello, you! It’s so good to see you. And it was awkward. And it all could have been saved at the party with the name tag. Now that’s not to say that she was only important because she was a CEO. You need to remember everybody’s name, but name tags just make it easier for your guests. And I’m also going to tell you, we also want to think about introverts and shy people and how to make them feel more included at these events. That’s what makes it special. Cause you ever been to a networking event, it’s all these extroverted people that are, you know, whatever. It’s just, it’s nice to make everybody feel included. And name tags really help with that.
Bert: Yes. Yes. And, um, again, when I first thought of the name tag thing, I was like, oh, I just rolled my eyes.
But once you read the chapter, it totally makes sense. In fact, now after reading the chapter on the name tags, I, even if you’re throwing a big function, like your basic corporate networking function, any kind of function at all, you are crazy not to have name tags. I am completely sold on name tags,
Nick: Right? Yes. Yes. Thank you. Thank you.
Bert: Oh my goodness. Some of the stuff is just, the name tag was like the biggest surprise to me, how much I liked it once I read the chapter. But all right, so let’s talk about this. Um, what are some of the biggest mistakes that people need to avoid? Could you talk about this in the book? What are some of the biggest mistakes that people need to avoid when putting these gatherings together?
Nick: All right. The biggest one that I see for a first-time host, I’m going to put you on the spot here. Okay. Uh, so I’m asking you a question. What do you think is the number one fear for someone who’s never really hosted an event before?
Bert: I would think it would be people not showing up.
Nick: That’s exactly right. Ding, ding, ding. That’s why most people don’t bring their friends, their neighbors, or their colleagues together, because they’re worried that nobody will show up. And so, so much of my book, probably 80% of it deals with, you know, how to make sure that you’re going to have almost over 90% of people show up. I forced my sister to read my book this past weekend. And she hosted a girl’s night on Saturday night. She had 21 people who RSVPed and every single one of them showed up for her party. And that is what you’ll get when you do a few things. So I’ll tell you what those are. Number one, host your party on what I call a non red level day. That means Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday night, because those are not socially competitive nights. Two, only host it for two hours. It’s a two hour cocktail party to let people know that this is not a chance to get, you know, wasted. This isn’t a huge blowout party. We’re coming for a meeting, they can pop in. Three, you’re going to send three reminder messages leading up to the event. And a lot of people like three, that’s too many, but I’ve hosted hundreds of events. No one has ever said, you spammed me too much about this free party. Nobody says that. And then four, we’re going to collect RSVPs on an RSVP platform, like Eventbrite, Paperless Post. The one I like is a service called Mixily, M-I-X-I-L-Y, but a lot of the youth like this one called Partiful, P-A-R-T-I-F-U-L, but a free thing, just to get people to commit and make a social contract and say, I’m coming. And then you can send the reminder messages through there. So those are a couple of the major mistakes that I see people doing. And then the last and most important one, no food. This is not a dinner party, please. Not a dinner party. Dinner parties are too hard. They’re too complicated. Only cocktails.
Bert: Yeah. I love that. I love the fact that there was no food involved. I think you mentioned maybe, maybe some snacks. Yeah. And I thought, Ooh, that’s perfect. I mean, you don’t have to worry about it. All right. So you know the biggest aha that I got out of the book, and I want to talk about this again, the book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I’m going to leave the link in the show notes, is this thing called the icebreakers. And you have three icebreakers during this two-hour get-together. Talk about the icebreakers. Talk about how you came up with that. And what’s the purpose of the icebreakers? Talk about this, please. Guys, check out our sponsor, free publicityexpert.com. What would happen to your business? If you were 10 times more famous, what would happen to your credibility and your profitability? If you were seen on the news on a regular basis, check these guys out at freepublicityexpert.com, free publicityexpert.com. Get the publicity your business deserves, check them out.
Nick: Two purposes of icebreakers, the first purpose. And what’s an icebreaker? It’s just a conversational mix-up. We’re just trying to have folks have an excuse to go talk to somebody new. Okay. So what’s the first purpose? The first purpose is to give them an excuse to go chat with somebody new. The second purpose, which you may not think about, is to give people an excuse to end their existing conversations. How many times you’ve been in an event and you’re stuck. You’re like, oh, I’m kind of done talking to this person. Uh, well, when we run icebreakers, it gives them an excuse. Oh, I guess I gotta go. We’re doing icebreakers. Nice to meet you. I’ll talk to you later. And can I tell the ones I like to use?
Nick: The number one that I like to use, because most people who read my book, my book is meant for people who, who haven’t hosted a lot. And so this is probably their first time running an icebreaker. And the only thing that’s important is just that it goes well. And so we’re not trying to get creative. We’re not trying to create the best. You’re just doing one that always works. And so that one is, say, your name, say what you do for work. And then say one of your favorite things that you like to eat for breakfast. Now, why that one? Well, because it’s easy because everybody eats breakfast or chooses not to eat. They’ve done it recently. There’s no judgment. It doesn’t take you a long time to think about it. And the actual thing we want to know is their name and what they do for work. Right? Cause it’s like kind of a networking thing, but we add the breakfast cause it expresses their personality. And because it’s easy and it works all the time and it’s fast, right?
Nick: There’s no judgment, right? They’re not, what’s my favorite movie? What’s my favorite book? And what’s the worst job I ever had? It’s not that, right? It’s fast. And in a room where you don’t know a lot of people, it’s easy to go around and it doesn’t require vulnerability. So that’s the quick gist.
Bert: You know, it’s phenomenal. I love that idea of the icebreakers. And again, this is something that, especially now that people are starting to come back to an office environment, I could see the icebreakers being done at the office.
Bert: Just getting everybody together. Maybe it’s somebody you’ve never met. Maybe, somebody, you haven’t seen in a couple of years, let’s do a couple icebreakers. I just thought that was a phenomenal tool. I just loved It.
Nick: Thank you for saying that.
Bert: All right. So talk about some of the results that you’ve gotten from hosting these small gatherings, these two-hour cocktail parties. I know you mentioned the Museum Hack as one of your, uh, what do you call it? Success stories, any other ones that you can share with us?
Nick: Um, let’s see. Any other success stories? Well, some of the success stories that I like to share about are of the readers, of people who’ve read my party. And so I’m thinking about this guy in Chicago, who has a tiny apartment, 300 square feet, 300 square feet, tiny, tiny. And he hosted 28 people and it was packed, but it was exciting. And a lot of people say my apartment isn’t nice enough. It’s too far away. It’s too small. It’s too dirty. I say, you know what? Within reason, that doesn’t matter because you will have the confidence and you’ll have the vulnerability to invite people into your home. And nobody’s going to show up to your party and judge you, they’re not going to show up and be like, oh, this is too small. I’m leaving to start a rival party. No! They’re going to be there. And they’re going to create that vulnerability of you, inviting them into your home, it’s going to create a deeper, deeper, deeper connection. And now I’m happy that I’ve helped almost a hundred people host their first party, which is pretty weird, right? Because I’m just doing this for fun, for free. And it seems like I’m not selling anything. I’m not trying to sell. I think there’s a loneliness epidemic kind of post COVID and folks just aren’t most, haven’t made a new friend in many years, and this is my attempt to try to fix that.
Bert: You know what? I think you hit an incredibly big nail on the head because even pre COVID, you know, once we get to a certain point in our lives, I don’t think we expand our circle very much.
Bert: I mean, especially if you are married and you had children, your circle is really just the friends that you had before you got married, maybe some coworkers and your family, and it doesn’t get much bigger than that.
Bert: And then the other thing is back to, you know, again, as humans, you know, we’re so weird sometimes. We don’t want to be alone, but we don’t want to make the first move to make friends either. So I think that The 2-Hour Cocktail Party is the prescription to cure that. I mean, and it doesn’t have to be with anything, would call it with any kind of a major intent. For example, you could bring a bunch of corporate people together because maybe you want to build your network. That’s one way of doing it.
Bert: The other thing you mentioned about how sometimes we don’t even know our neighbors. Well, what if you had? What if you have invited five or 10 neighbors to come over just to get to know your neighbors?
Nick: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. By the way, the pro tip that I’m gonna tell your listeners is do that first. Do exactly what Bert said, host this at home, host it for your neighbors and your friends. Your first party should be a low-stakes affair. You’re not pulling from the top shelf. If you’re wanting to date, if you want a new job, if you’re trying to impress somebody, do not invite them to your first party, your first party is just a very chill, gathering, neighbors, friends, colleagues, people that you know, that you’re close to and you invite them to your home. So you will learn the formula and you learn how to host a good event. I’ll show you how, exactly, how to make it easy. And then Bert said something which was really great, was that most people are kind of afraid of rejection. And let me tell you what I’ve learned from inviting thousands of people to these cocktail parties. Everyone wants to be invited to a party. When you invite someone to your party, it’s a gift that you get to give them, even if they don’t want to come, I can promise you. By inviting them, it’s a compliment because you’re showing them that they are wanted. It’s a secret life hack. Just imagine you bump into somebody cool at a business event at a coffee place. The difference between saying, Hey, I’d like to get to know you. Can I have your phone number? Maybe that could be a little awkward or, Hey, my friends and I are hosting a little cocktail party. Can I send you the information? That’s such an easy way to get contact info? It’s such an easy yes. As you know, from sales, make it easy for them to say yes. Can I send you the information versus can we have a one-on-one meeting? That’s hard. That’s hard.
Bert: Yeah, no, I love it. I love it. And there are just so many gifts that can come out of hosting a two-hour cocktail party. It’s amazing. All right. You mentioned something that I want to kind of, ask you, you mentioned how sometimes we, as humans are fearful. When you were putting this book together, did you hit that wall of fear?
And if you did, how did you overcome it?
Nick: I definitely did hit some fear. I tell you what, I just couldn’t finish the book. I had some mental blocks around something. Something was holding me back and I’m a perfectionist. The reality is I had some dark months and weeks of just trying to work too much, spend too much time on things that really didn’t matter.
And maybe you’ve done that too in your life. I certainly did it a lot and I spent too much time on things that didn’t matter. But then I’ll tell you what the hardest time was, I was getting ready to finish my manuscript around March of 2020. And then I don’t have to say what happened, but the idea of releasing a book where you invite 15 to 20 people into your home in March of 2020 was not a very popular idea. And so I basically closed the Word Doc click, and I didn’t open it for a year and my whole life changed. And so that was an interesting thing. I’m thankful, I’m blessed. I have my health. I have my friends and family. A lot of people had a worse situation during COVID, but for me, that was interesting to totally shift gears.
Bert: Yeah. Yeah. All right. Uh, nothing. This has nothing to do with the book, but just my own curiosity. Why did you leave New York for, is it Austin, Texas?
Nick: Austin, Texas. I’m in Austin now. I fell in love with Austin and I fell in love with the great people of Texas.
I kind of grew up in Dallas a little bit and I came back to Austin and nature and the outdoors. Now look, I’m a city slicker to my core. I think New York City, if you want to live in a big city, there’s nowhere in America like New York. I lived there for 13 years, had no car, never drove, didn’t have to, you don’t need to. I also lived in New York for 13 years with no dishwasher, no washer, dryer, no guest bedroom, and a fifth-floor walk-up, which was great for my glutes, by the way, the best butt ever. But it’s just a different style and a pace of life. I think I’m getting older. And I just want something a little slower if I’m being honest, I like that now.
Bert: Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny you should say that because I used to live in New York. I lived there in Manhattan for about a year and, and a little bit over a year. And so, uh, it’s great energy. Like you said, the pace is amazing. And one of my favorite things about New York was you could work, whatever you could work all day, get home, take a nap shower. And then, you know, you hit the street around 10 or 11 and just starting, the nightlife, it’s just starting to come together and you didn’t know this, but I grew up in Texas. So Texas is the reverse, you know, it’s not out in the streets by 10 or 11. Yeah. You know, it’s going to start wrapping up pretty soon, so,
Nick: Right, right.
Bert: Different lifestyle. And yes, I love New York, but, uh, man, I also did appreciate the simplicity, if you will, the different energy that I grew up with in Houston. So Houston and Austin have a different energy than New York and that’s okay. But, yeah, it’s, it is a great, great city. There’s just this great energy there that it’s not any place else, even in Los Angeles, the energy is different than it is in New York.
Nick: It really is. Yeah. It’s so dense. And I think that’s the big thing, it’s so dense. I love what you did. How old were you when you lived there, Bert?
Bert: Oh my gosh. I was 30.
Nick: I think everybody should live in New York for like a year. It should be like a study abroad program for most Americans. And you got to live in New York for a year, sometime before you’re 35. Live in New York for a year. Try it out.
Bert: When you were writing the book, did you have a specific reader in mind, or was this, you know, like for everybody? Or were you thinking, Hey, this is just for you know, for business people? What were you thinking? As far as readership,
Nick: This book works best for someone who has, I would say, who has, or who knows, you know, 20 to 30 people in their loose connections in the town that they live in. I don’t mean 20 to 30 friends or best friends, but I mean, on your Facebook or on your LinkedIn, you’ve got at least 20 or 30 people that you’ve met or talked to over the last five years, because what this party really is for developing and building your connections of what sociologists call your weak ties or your loose connections. Because we find out about the best business opportunities, relationships, or new jobs. We find out about those through our weak ties, through our acquaintances. Think about acquaintances, somebody that may be another name, maybe not, but you see them, you say hello to them. That is what this party is for. This party is to develop that network that you have of acquaintances. So that’s, that’s kind of who I think about. It can work for somebody that just moves to a new town that knows nobody, and I’ve seen it work and I’ve helped people do that, but it’s a little bit harder.
Bert: Sure, sure. Uh, like your buddy Tyler there who moved to Chicago?
Nick: Little Rock,
Bert: Little rock, Little Rock, Arkansas. Yup. Yup, yup. The book again, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party by Nick Gray. And it’s really about how to build big relationships with small gatherings. And it is totally step-by-step. You cover everything in this book, you cover the whole invite sequence, which I thought was phenomenal. I don’t think you left anything to chance. It’s really, I mean, very well detailed and very well laid out. It’s well done, Nick.
Nick: Thank you. Thank you for saying that, Bert. I appreciate it. I worked at it for five years. My goal is just, just like you said, people are lonely. And I think we need to get back together because as adults, you alluded to thi. Friendship becomes a game of attrition. People just as you get older, people just kind of drop off and it’s harder to meet new people and that’s what’s messed up. Nobody teaches adults how to make new friends. Well, what if you, how would your life change if you became that person, that your friends meet people through, you become that one who’s the super-connector through your town. All that it takes is a simple two-hour cocktail party.
Bert: Yeah. That’s phenomenal. You get to be the guy. I have a guy, I have a guy, you become the guy.
Bert: And you know, back to your loose ties, you covered this in a book, but this is so true. Uh, some, I forgot what the percentage is, but there’s a large percentage of jobs that are filled through these acquaintances and loose, right?
Nick: Yes! It’s who you know, it’s that old phrase your net worth is your network, right? Your network is your net worth. It’s that phrase. And it’s real. It’s super true. By the way, the book is called The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. It’s not about the alcohol. I don’t even drink alcohol myself. I wrote a book about cocktail parties and there’s no drink recipes, but it’s that idea. The phrase cocktail party, that’s a socially acceptable, lightweight, easy event for you to show up to. That phrase is easy for people to say yes to, very different from a dinner party. And this format and formula can work for a networking event. It can work for hosting a clothing swap. It can work for a book swap or a happy hour. And in the show notes, we’ll include links to those. I’ve written a bunch of articles about how to host a networking event, how to plan a happy hour, how to host a clothing swap. The same formula hosted on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night. Keep it to two hours, use name tags, do rounds of icebreakers. That is how you can learn to gather people and become a super-connector. So that then folks are like, oh my God, you got to meet Bert. He hosts these amazing events. You have to get an invite. He hosts this awesome stuff. Anyone can do that. You just have to step up and host a party.
Bert: Yeah, no, I love that. I love that. All right. If you were to give our audience one or two takeaways, what would be the one or two things that you would want the audience to take away from either the book or from today’s interview?
Nick: Number one is the importance of name tags. Even if you’re hosting a birthday party for your kids or a gathering, it’s not that you know everybody’s names. Think about your guests. Think about the plus ones or the spouses of your guests that are coming. They don’t know everybody. Name tags are an easy way to make people feel included. Number two, do not host a dinner party. If you’re getting excited to host people, I can’t stress enough. It’s not about the food. People are coming for the people and the conversations. You can accomplish 80% of the results with only 20% of the work. Less work, less time, less stress when just do a cocktail party.
Bert: I love that. I love that. And not only, not only is it not about the food, it’s not about the alcohol you talk about in the book as well, just, you know, it’s phenomenal. And it is more than at least from what I took away from the book, it’s more about the name tags. If everybody get to know each other and the icebreakers, those to me were the big takeaways that I got from it because in today’s world, we might say hi to people, we might have a bunch of friends on LinkedIn and social media, but do we know people? Do we really even know their name? This is great. In fact, one of the things that I started doing, and again, you talk about this in the book you mentioned, okay. I think it’s even in the first chapter, we start putting your name lists together.
Bert: And so I go to the gym every day, I’m thinking, okay, I’m going to invite her. I’m going to invite this trainer, that trainer, the owner. And so I have a list of about 50 people, which I’m going to shrink down to about 15. I think it was a recommended amount. Get those 15 people in there and just have fun,
Nick: This is perfect for your gym friends because you see these people all the time and maybe it’s a little too much of a step to say, Hey, let’s go right to dinner, but instead you bring them to a cocktail party. That’s perfect. Hold on. I have to ask you about this. We’re going off topic for a second. What is your gym routine? You look fit as heck.
Bert: Thank you. Thank you. My gym routine is I go to the gym early in the morning. I hit the weights in an ideal situation. Then I go back at around five o’clock and I do a little cardio too, to work off the stress of the day. Just to kind of give me a little bit of extra energy and that’s basically it.
Nick: Much respect, much respect. Do you mind if I ask how old you are?
Bert: I am, uh, I will be 60.
Nick: Get out of town, get out of town. Are you kidding? You’re an inspiration for that level of fitness, for going to the gym twice a day, you’re doing more. And for me, that’s an inspiration to get my butt into gear and get up there to get some functional strength training. It’s just helpful as we get older.
Bert: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. You gotta, you know, you don’t want to lose your glute, uh, that you developed in New York, 13 years of those stairs. Staircase. What is it? StairMaster
Nick: Yes. Yes. And I’d haul in the groceries up the stairs. You’re right.
Bert: Oh my goodness. Nick, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show. I am so excited about The 2-Hour Cocktail Party book by Nick Gray. The show notes, or check out the show notes. We’ll have plenty of links there. Nick, love to have you back again, my friend.
Nick: Thank you very much. Thanks Bert.
Additional Links and Resources:
- How to Host a Party Website
- The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: Website
- The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: Amazon
- How to Host a Clothing Swap
- How to Plan a Networking Event
- How to Host a Happy Hour
- Mocktail Party: How to Host When You Don’t Drink Alcohol
- If I Had $10 Million Dollars, How Would I Live Differently?
- Nick Gray’s friends newsletter
- Nick Gray’s personal website
- Nick Gray’s blog