Nick Gray, Author of ‘The 2-Hour Cocktail Party’, Shares his Tips on Hosting The Ideal Party to Build & Strengthen Friendships
Nick Gray is well known for founding “Museum Hack”, a lifestyle business that revolutionized boring old-fashioned museum tours. Museum Hack produced Renegade Museum Tours which were led by stand-up comedians and Broadway actors.
What began as a hobby, grew into a booming business with tours being arranged across six major cities. With 50 employees on the payroll, Museum Hack brought in nearly $3 million in revenue at the time Nick decided to sell his company in 2019 to his employees.
When Nick wrote “The 2-hour Cocktail Party”, he tapped into his experience of running Museum Hack, which was a people-centered business. He discovered that just as a successful museum tour requires engagement, interaction, and mingling of the guests so does throwing good parties.
“I want to see at my party people mixing and mingling and talking to new people. I find as I get older number one, it’s harder to make new friends… the best opportunities come from my extended network, my acquaintances, my loose connections, my weak ties, my real world LinkedIn. That’s where we find out about new jobs, new customers, new opportunities, new employee relationships even.”
In the book, Nick offers a unique cocktail party formula that will help you build new relationships, as well as enrich and transform lives. In this episode, Nick discusses how Museum Hack became a hit overnight and breaks down his unique party formula to help people throw killer parties.
Listen to the full podcast to learn more about Nick Gray, his book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, and his tactics to “hack” your social life by driving networking and relationship-building with a twist.
Nick’s Book Recommendations:
Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick
The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
Where to Find Nick:
Follow him on Instagram: @nickgraynews
Follow him on LinkedIn: Nick Gray
Follow him on Twitter: @nickgraynews
Find him on Tik tok – @nickgraynews
Links to Additional Resources:
How to Host a Party Website
The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: Book info
The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: Amazon
Do’s and Don’ts in Planning a Networking Meetup
Clothing Swap: How to Plan the Party
Hosting a Happy Hour: Nick Gray’s How-to Guide
How to Host a Dinner Party
Guest Bios: My Secret Weapon
Nick Gray’s personal website
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[Desiree]: In today’s episode we have Nick, the man behind Two Hour Cocktail Party. Nick, welcome to the show.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Hey thanks for having me.
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[al]: Hey Nick, I appreciate your coming on the pod. Just to get started, maybe to introduce you I just looked you up and I know you used to run a startup called museum hack then you wrote this book two hour cocktail party. But I think it’s best to let you introduce yourself. I think that’ll be ideal so our viewers know who you are. Could you introduce yourself for us please?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Yeah sure my name is Nick Gray and for startups, I think the thing I was most famous for was this business called Museum Hack which is really like a lifestyle business. We did renegade museum tours at some of the biggest best museums in America. so it started at the metropolitan museum of art and then went to The Getty in Los Angeles, the art institute. What is a renegade tour? I would hire people like stand-up comedians and broadway actors to lead those museum tours and then they were live experiences not an app, a live live experience. I grew that too at three million dollars in sales. We had about fifty employees and then I sold it in 2019.
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[al]: Just to talk on that tiny bit, I read your bio and it said that you was acquired by one of your two of your employees?
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[al]: You tell us the tiny bit about that as well cause that’s not kind of usual. The usual case would be you sell your startup to a competitor, a private equity firm. That’s how it usually works out. But in your case, you sold it to your own employees. Could you tell us a bit about that?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Yes a thousand percent. So I did what’s called a seller finance transaction and I sold it to my then-CEO and marketing director. What does seller finance mean? It means that they put zero money down and basically acquired the business by saying that they would pay me back over a period of, I think we decided about five years. spoiler alert they did so well with the business that they paid it off much sooner. But it was an interesting way to sell a business. I think maybe your listeners may have not heard of seller financing before.
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[al]: Yeah I mean hundred percent. If you’re coming from a private equity background you might know that. But for startups, that’s not as usual. So could you tell us a bit about the seller finance bit? How does that work in real terms? Like we, how do you do that? How did you come to that even even thing like is that something proposed by your buyers? that is your employees? or how did that come about?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: So let me think about how best to explain it. Yes, the employees planned it, they came to me with the idea.
Add Nick’s part highlighted above
And generally seller finance happens when a business is already profitable. So the business is already making money and spitting off some cash. And it can allow the business owner to lock in those profits with basically zero work for many years to come in the future. However, were they to miss a single one of the payments then I would get the business back so I would resume the ownership if they missed any of those payments. So that’s the general gist. I’m happy to go into more of it if you’d like to know. It’s a really unique structure that worked out very well for us but it’s it’s not for everybody.
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[al]: Did you keep any like part of the shares for you after the sale or was it like a hundred percent sale to them? How did that happen?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: I kept fifteen percent of the business which I’ve since sold back to them, but I kept fifteen percent of the new business that was created.
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[al]: Got it, so that means you trusted the business right? Usually, you don’t keep the shares for it unless you actually trust the business is going to grow further, so you did actually trust in it, you had faith in the business that is going to grow. and just to talk a bit about it, why why this why the museum hack thing? Is that because you are good at networking? So it is people business right? It’s not necessarily a technological business, a people business. Personally, based on who you are, are you an extroverted person? Are you comfortable working with people? Are you comfortable talking to people? Do you love that, passionate about that, is that why you did that?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: I think that I started out not being very extroverted or confident. And when I first moved to new york city, I wasn’t, I was a little shy. I didn’t know how to talk to strangers and I had to learn those things through a lot of practice. That was fifteen years ago because when I was in school in grade school I was not very popular. Yeah no no it’s something that I learned through a lot of practice and then leading a lot of museum tours and then later hosting a lot of house parties and cocktail parties and networking events. I think it’s a skill that anyone can get better at.
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[al]: Right in terms of museums is that something you’re passionate about as well? Is that something you were totally into when you’re young?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: I was never into museums. Where do you live now? Are you in London or where are you?
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[al]: Yeah London.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Nice nice have you been to the British museum there? It’s pretty big right? It’s a nice it’s a nice museum, but it can be a little bit boring. At least I found that those museums can be a little boring and,
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[al]: hundred percent
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Right? And so that’s why I started to go to the metropolitan. I was like this place is cool but it’s boring. And I don’t like the free tours. And so I started to do my own
research and just explore and find fun things to do. And then when my friends were in town visiting, which maybe happens to you Al when folks come into town in London, they’re like oh I’m in town, you’re like oh great now I have to be your tour guide. Well, that would happen to me and I would take them to the met museum and just show them basically ten cool things I found and like three things I want to steal. So that was how my tours got started.
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[al]: Excellent I mean so what it’s like a personal thing you did without any commercial expectations so you just did it for your mates to get to know them show them around. Then when did you realize right I’m going to commercialize this, we can I can turn this into a business, how did that come, when did that happen?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: So it started as a hobby project for me. It started as something I never wanted to make a business. I just did it for fun for free for my friends and then it became very popular and I started to give tours and there was a long waiting list and then because word of mouth was spreading. And then this one blog wrote about it and said Nick Gray’s museum tours are the best thing to do in new york city is what they said. And literally, overnight one thousand three hundred people emailed me wanted to join the tours. I said wow there’s something special there. So I need to hire people because I can’t do tours for all these, I need to hire more guides. And so that’s where, then I said okay the tours are free but there is a long waiting list, maybe you can pay money to skip the line, so that’s kind of where it started.
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[al]: Right so thirteen hundred people that’s a lot of people who want to do the tours right? A lot right all right, then when did you think it’ll be a real business?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: I don’t know, I guess when when I finally had enough money to hire the first employee our first employee was a sales guy named Mark. He was the first full-time employee. I think maybe that’s when, it’s hard to say, it’s hard to say when it was a real business.
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[al]: Right and how did the momentum go like did things catch up really quickly things grow real really fast as soon as you hired the first person?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: The momentum It took a long time. I worked on the business for seven years. And I didn’t hire the first employee until probably two years after I had been doing the tours. So it certainly wasn’t overnight, but I think some people think it was.
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[al]: Right seven years is a long, when was this like? Was this like a twenty ten? When did you start?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: I did my very first museum tour let me think in probably twenty twelve and the business or twenty eleven, and then the business really kind of started in twenty thirteen.
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[al]: Right, the first two years you just did it for your mates, people you know. Then maybe the first commercial one in 2013 two years into it, got it. Right, and when was this the idea for selling it where did that happen?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: So I sold the business in twenty nineteen. And I think they first came to me with the idea maybe in December of twenty eighteen. And then it took us several months, probably three or four months to work out the details and the business sale closed I think in April of twenty nineteen.
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[al]: Got it. And how big the business was, I mean I know in terms of revenue you went to three million. As in the number of museums or cities you covered, how how big was that?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: So we were in five or six cities at that time. And we had five or six cities at that time you know seven or eight museums, several dozen tour guides, and yeah now these tour guides were working for us not full time, they’re working part-time we certainly had a big full-time staff and there was back office and sales and marketing and things like that but yeah.
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[al]: When you say to our guides, let’s talk about them. What were they like professionally trained tour guides? Is that what they usually do? That’s their day job or is there something they do more as a side hustle like maybe a student driving an Uber? Is that how it was for them?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: So we didn’t like to hire people who were classically trained tour guides. Why? Because they had bad habits. And we wanted to teach them. Such as they would be this idea of stage, on the stage. They would just talk and lecture. We would say hey look you know you’re going to do some ice breakers, some name tags, they’d say, no that’s not how you do, that’s not how I do museum tours. I say, well now you work for me. So that’s how we’ll do it. So instead we teach new people. And what we looked for was that they could connect with people. They could control an audience. They were good storytellers. I don’t care if they know the facts about the art, I can teach them about that..
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[al]: Yep, so I think you had a training process when you get somebody on on as a tour guide right? So you had your own way. You think the whole museum hack thing, the way you ran it had an influence on your two-hour cocktail party book?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: I think so for sure. because I learned that the number one indicator of a successful museum tour, was do the guests ask me questions? Or do they just sit back and want to listen? Are they engaging, are they talking? And that came over to my parties as well because I knew successful parties are people mixing and mingling, is there networking happening? And so that was really important for me.
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[al]: And so let’s talk a bit about, let’s more to your book right? So just did some reading on the I think that’s really important especially if you’re coming from a startup background. I personally started off in finance. I mean we’re kind of introverted, we’re kind of awkward when it comes to social interactions. A typical party we might go to let’s say it’s a barbecue it might be you just go there with your mate, you talk to your mate. Maybe you know somebody, you speak to the person you know and then you come back right. There is no real mingling with other people right, in a regular pay, it doesn’t happen. But that’s what it’s supposed to do, like but you don’t actually do that. Unless you are an extremely extroverted which I’m not, most people are not right, so you just go walk in there talk to the people you all know, and then you come back right that’s what usually happens. So I think that’s not the way to do it. But you came up with this really good thing, a system to do that, could you walk us through it I think you call it your NICK concept. Walk us through it, please.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: It’s the NICK Party Formula. So what I’m focused on, which by the way I should try to convince you to host a party like this there in London, would you do it?
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[al]: Hundred percent.
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Okay, oh my god that would be amazing and I think you would crush it too I think you would do really well. So I want to see at my party people mixing and mingling and talking to new people. I find as I get older number one, it’s harder to make new friends. Number two, the best opportunities come from my extended network, my acquaintances, my loose connections, my weak ties, my real-world LinkedIn, okay. That’s where we find out about new jobs, new customers, new opportunities, new employee relationships even. So how do we build that? It’s by hosting one of these two-hour cocktail parties. and the easy way to think about it is something called the Nick Party Formula. So think about my name Nick and then think about N I C K. N stands for name tags, I stands for ice breakers, C stands for cocktails only, there’s no drinks, no dinner, and K stands for kick them out at the end it’s only two hours long.
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[al]: Right why name tags though is that a must?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Name tags are an absolute must. And here is why. The right number of people to have at your party is between fifteen and twenty. I’ve experimented with this. I’ve hosted hundreds of parties myself and I found that less than fifteen, there’s not a critical mass. There’s not enough people that are in the room. More than twenty, and it’s too, a little bit too hard for people to run the ice breakers, too many people for a first-time host. If you’re very experienced you could do twenty-five but I think fifteen to twenty is the right place to start for the first party. Why name tags? Not everybody will know everybody’s name. It’s very hard to remember the names and the name tags help show that there’s no cliques. This isn’t, these work friends, these school friends, these neighbors, everybody is there to talk to everybody else, no cliques. The name tags show that it’s a safe space to meet new people. Now, what do you think about that because I heard you asking why name tags what do you think?
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[al]: I mean, that’s really important. I mean, you mentioned the cliques. That’s something I experienced right? Because let’s say you go to that party, you talk to the people you know and there’s always cliques. Like let’s say three people come from a certain startup, that’s their clique. They don’t intentionally do that, but they’re only comfortable speaking to themselves. I mean there are a lot of cliques like that. mingling doesn’t happen between the cliques, right? So that’s quite common. I think yeah definitely name tags will open up a bit, so you don’t necessarily need to know somebody, right, you know that person’s name now go speak to him.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Yes yes yes I like that, going to talk to people like that and just mixing it up, it’s it’s so hard to make new friends as adults, and this is just a way that I found that makes it easier.
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[al]: And let’s talk about the, all right, maybe go to the next step, ice breakers. A question I had was, what’s the aim of this party? Is it more professional, or just to make friends personally? How much of this is professional? How much of this is for personally just to make mates? How would you describe that? At least in your view.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Your first party, the one I want you to host, should be just for your mates, at first. So that you can get comfortable with the format. Because frankly, you’re not going to have confidence to use the name tags, to do the ice breakers, if you host it as a business for professional purposes, you know you’ll be like oh I want to impress these people I don’t want to do name tags, ice breakers. I just want to do normal stuff. So your first party needs to just be with friends, so you have the confidence to try new things. After that then you can turn this into networking, oh my god it will change your life. However, you’ll be the most successful if you can mix your personal and professional. Why is that? People can feel it when it’s a professional party. You know they can just feel, but if people if you mix all these different people in your life from different areas, that’s exciting, that diversity of attendees, that’s what’s exciting at a party.
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[al]: So lets on to the next one, icebreakers. So why icebreakers, how to do that?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Why do you do the icebreakers? Well, the purpose of the party is to make new friends and to talk to new people. The icebreakers have you ever been to a party and you’re like dan, I wish I knew who else had a podcast here. As I have a podcast, maybe I want to talk to other people with a podcast. You never know that, you don’t know unless the host tells you or you ask or you randomly talk to people. So when you have an icebreaker it gives everybody a chance to sort of say a little bit about what they do. Now I don’t like the icebreaker questions like what was your worst first date or what’s your biggest fear.
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[al]: So what would you say the ideal questions would be for icebreakers, give us a few.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: So all the icebreakers should have three parts. Number one, say your name. number two, say what you do for work. And then number three, the icebreaker. At the beginning of the night, you want to use what I call a green-level ice breaker, an easy one. The green level ice breaker that I always start my parties with is what’s one of your favorite things to eat for breakfast? Sounds very silly, sounds childish even, and yet it doesn’t take you long to think about, there’s no judgment, everybody can answer it, the answers are short, and it is a little bit of your personality. The purpose of the first icebreaker is not to know, oh my god I have to memorize what’s your breakfast. No. It’s just to get people to start talking, get, speak up. Get talking in the room. So that is the purpose. And afterward, after you do the icebreaker the room explodes, and all these new conversations, everybody’s talking it’s incredible.
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[al]: cool. I mean, is there like a specific day or time for these cocktail parties? Maybe on the weekend? Do you think weekends are ideal for this or no? How do you see that?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Yes yes yes, good question. I think that the best days and times are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday nights. why is that, because they’re non-competitive social nights. What do you think about that all?
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[al]: All right. When you say that it makes sense right? On weekends we have plans. But the first thing that came to my mind was like it has to be on the weekend, that’s when people go out. But now you said it, it won’t be that competitive that makes sense. Because we already have plans for weekends. A lot of things are planned. Yes, all right, that’s really good that’s good, right?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: The number one fear for someone who’s never hosted a party before, the number one fear is that nobody will show up. They’re worried that nobody will come to their party. And so for your first party, because you know I’m all about giving you an exact formula that’s going to work and that your party is gonna be massively successful and so we’re doing things that I’ve tried that I’ve tested, and by hosting on a Monday, a Tuesday, a Wednesday night more people will say yes, you’ll have higher attendance ratio and your party will be more fun.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Yeah so when are you going to do yours Al? let’s think about it ideally three to four weeks from now, so you need to pick what day of the week would you do.
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[al]: Now you said it, I think it’ll be an ideal like a Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s like the midweek nothing much planned I guess. So it’ll be much easier to get people on board I think. So probably if I had to pick between Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ll go with Tuesday it’s kind of calm. I mean you hardly do anything on Tuesdays. At least in my case, so I think I would stick to Tuesday.
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Nice I like that now what time for you do you think would be best what time what two-hour time block would you do for your party?
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[al]: All right based on a regular, but let’s say a person doing nine to five, so until five pm they won’t be able to come. So you finish work at five. Give a couple of hours for them to maybe get rest, change, go home, come back to your place probably like six pm? Six pm to nine I think that’ll be ideal. What do you think is a good time?
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[nick__nickgraynews]: Six to eight, because it’s only two hours.
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[al]: Sorry two hours so six to eight you think that’s that’s the ideal time?
00:22:43,037 –> 00:22:46,183
[nick__nickgraynews]: I think it’s good, I think you need to know what works for your friends.
and so what you’ll do is you’ll do a test. You’ll think about five friends who are your core group. Your core group is your close friends, your mates, your buddies that you know you can laugh with and and they joke with you, and if only they come you’ll still have a good time. and you’ll text them and you’ll say hey I’m thinking of hosting a happy hour at my place on November first, Wednesday from six to eight pm. If I do it would you come? So by sending that out to five people, you’ll check, is my time right? Now what I can tell you is when I lived in new york city things started later. People were seven to nine. That was before Covid before lockdowns. Then when I moved to Austin, Texas things started earlier. Happy hours here were like five to seven. It’s just culture in different cities and towns and with your friend group.
00:23:43,220 –> 00:23:50,186
[al]: Right, got it. So it has to be midweek ideally. So why two hours though? I think you mentioned a two-hour block, why two hours? Why not three hours? Why not an hour?
00:23:53,957 –> 00:23:56,180
[nick__nickgraynews]: So two hours I found, one hour wasn’t enough because maybe people are fifteen minutes late and then they don’t get a chance to speak to people. Three hours is too long and three hours, here’s the benefit. When you host a party and you list a start time and an end time, then people don’t play that calculus. That mental math oh Al invited me at six, so I guess I’ll show up at seven. Right, I don’t want to, but when it’s only two hours they know to show up, if you show up an hour late then you’re going to miss everything. You’ll miss half the party. So number one when it’s only two hours more people show up on time, there’s less of what I call the awkward zone when nobody’s there it’s just awkward. Number two, when you keep it to only two hours more people say yes. They know even if they’re busy they can still come by. It’s a short two-hour party, this isn’t a long night of drinking. And I know that people in London love to drink alcohol. They love to do this and it’s uh it’s different. So I’d be curious to know how it goes, but I’ve had a lot of people that are in London who host this party and people just love having the excuse to go home. They’re networking, they’re making new friends with intention and then they get to go home and they have it’s very nice, it’s nice.
00:25:16,090 –> 00:25:21,644
[al]: And I think you mentioned some probably on one of your pods, I think it’s cocktails only why though?
00:25:24,547 –> 00:25:27,372
[nick__nickgraynews]: No dinner, no food because that’s too stressful. It’s too much work. For some people that’s too expensive. I want to show to you the idea of the MVP minimum viable party. What’s the easiest party that you can possibly host? A lot of people think oh I have to cook dinner, I have to do food. You don’t have to. Your friends are adults. Your friends can feed themselves. They want to come for you. For the conversation, for the people. So that’s part of what I’m teaching people.
00:25:57,640 –> 00:26:01,227
[al]: And you think the food is going to come in the way like so the people will be a bit distracted with the food. They won’t be able to mingle as much is that another reason as well?
00:26:07,237 –> 00:26:08,602
[nick__nickgraynews]: Yes, no. My experience is that it’s too stressful for the host. It takes too much work and the host gets too stressed out so that’s why we don’t do food.
00:26:20,250 –> 00:26:24,095
[al]: No food, got it. So purely cocktails can they have any snacks or is that too much?
00:26:25,747 –> 00:26:30,194
[nick__nickgraynews]: Yes, snacks you can do. You can do easy snacks, some salted nuts, some chips, some hummus, things like that. Some grapes, people love grapes. Some cookies, something you could just buy very easily at the shop.
00:26:39,271 –> 00:26:46,883
[al]: Right. So it’s gonna be lightweight. nothing serious so some cocktails, some snacks, got it. and the last is k, kick out time. Why specify the exact time?
00:26:53,687 –> 00:26:55,330
[nick__nickgraynews]: So you got to kick them out at the end because it’s a school night, it’s a work night. It’s Monday or Tuesday people have to work the next day. This isn’t a crazy party of drinking and getting crazy. It’s just come in to mix and mingle and make new friends. So I have a whole chapter in the book. I think chapter fourteen is about how to end your party. I’ll tell you this, when you tell them in the invitation, when you list both a start time and an end time, when you tell them in the reminder, start to end, they understand that there will be an end time. It’s not a surprise to them. Many people oh my gosh how do I kick people out? Well, the book speaks about it, but I’m just telling you, already when you let them know that there’ll be an end time you give them the expectations.
00:27:37,900 –> 00:27:43,304
[al]: So while you’re on the party, let’s say half half an hour to end do you make an announcement and let them know the party is gonna end in half an hour or X amount of time or no?
00:27:49,188 –> 00:27:49,909
[nick__nickgraynews]: Yes exactly, ten or fifteen minutes before the end you can make a last call. Hey everybody thank you so much, the party is going to end in about fifteen minutes. If you want to grab another drink or say hi to somebody new, we’ll wrap up in about fifteen minutes, just like that.
00:28:05,170 –> 00:28:10,525
[al]: Right, And how often would you say you need to throw a party like this based on your experience?
00:28:13,407 –> 00:28:14,689
[nick__nickgraynews]: Oh I’m so glad you asked that. Because the biggest benefits come when you can make hosting a habit. When you can make hosting something that you don’t just do once but you do repeatedly. And that’s why my formula is so simple and basic because I want to give you the tool to make it a habit I think best every six weeks, seven weeks or so.
00:28:35,720 –> 00:28:39,871
[al]: That’s like the ideal gap in the parties? Six or seven weeks? Why?
00:28:40,967 –> 00:28:41,429
[nick__nickgraynews]: Six or seven weeks it depends, it depends. If you love it, I know some people that are hosting every month. If you don’t like it you can do it every three months. whatever you want, but for me in my life, I found the best benefits about like every six weeks.
00:28:54,740 –> 00:28:59,768
[al]: Right and during a party like this, how deep do you go in a conversation? Like alright, you met somebody right, somebody new. And are you supposed to go like really deep in, ask a lot of questions, or the first meet you just have to limit to a certain limit is there something like that? Or what would you recommend?
00:29:16,677 –> 00:29:21,205
[nick__nickgraynews]: Many of these parties is just easy little conversations. It’s not a deep forty-five minute talk with somebody. If you meet somebody interesting then you say hey I’d love to go out sometime, can we get a coffee? Can we have dinner? Maybe go on a walk. then you can go deeper with them. But this party is where you build and you get to know them as an acquaintance, as a new friend and then you build the big relationships afterwards.
00:29:42,750 –> 00:29:48,696
[al]: Right. Got it. So this is not necessarily the place like you go deep into that conversation. you get to know him, see if you have any similar interests like you. He or her. So you want to get to know that person more. Then there will be another meetup with that individual person. got it. And where would you say will be the ideal place to host a party like this? I think you speak about hosting at your own place. Or is there other alternatives as well or your home is the best place to do this?
00:30:20,517 –> 00:30:21,900
[nick__nickgraynews]: So I would say based on my experience, from hosting hundreds of parties and helping people to host many parties, hosting at home is the best place. And I’ll tell you why. It because it’s the most generous, it’s because it’s the most vulnerable and because you create the biggest connections. You know, inviting someone into your home is scary. And it is almost like going on a little date with them. You will turbocharge your relationships when you host at home because they will feel a closer deeper connection to you.
00:30:55,510 –> 00:31:00,080
[al]: Right I mean let’s say somebody living in a flat, can they do it as well, or do you need like a proper house with a lot of space to do this?
00:31:03,917 –> 00:31:06,140
[nick__nickgraynews]: A flat works perfect, even better, because it’s smaller and has more energy. When I was in New York I had a tiny flat, barely one bedroom, and those were some of the best parties because it’s so exciting.
00:31:17,470 –> 00:31:21,714
[al]: So well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be big? Like I thought you need a lot of space to mingle, do things. Or that’s not the case here.
00:31:25,807 –> 00:31:27,491
[nick__nickgraynews]: No no no you don’t need a big place. Actually, the smaller spaces are the better because people are more crowded and you have higher levels of energy and excitement.
00:31:36,491 –> 00:31:42,000
[al]: Right. Got it now. so that’s the basic formula. What other tips can you give for somebody who’s going to host their first party? What other aspects do you think we’re missing here? So if you have this, what other things would you add?
00:31:50,757 –> 00:31:51,799
[nick__nickgraynews]: I think we got a lot of the key points. You know the first step is to choose a date. So look at your calendar and choose a date that’s three to four weeks away, on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday night. Don’t do it around holidays
00:32:04,253 –> 00:32:09,682
[al]: Wait, why is that? Is that a thing? Like specific you think there should be a gap like that not like next week or a certain day this week why?
00:32:14,817 –> 00:32:17,080
[nick__nickgraynews]: Right because you need time to invite people. You need time to meet
people. You need time for your guests to rsvp. You need time to send reminder messages. you want everybody to show up. The biggest mistake I see, somebody messages me on a day like today, it’s Monday when we’re recording this. They say hey I’m hosting a party on Friday, how can I use your book to help? I say bro, people have plans. It’s too late, they’re busy. People are busy, they have plans. Even if they don’t have plans a lot of people will. and so you want to get ahead of that by planning your party weeks in advance so that people save it in their calendar. they can adjust their lives. I want you to have minimum fifteen people. So this isn’t like oh nick says fifteen and I’ll try to get eleven. no, minimum fifteen and for everybody.
00:33:05,560 –> 00:33:06,584
[al]: Minimum fifteen right.
00:33:07,597 –> 00:33:09,039
[nick__nickgraynews]: Yeah and for for a lot of people, fifteen is not easy. You know they have to really think about it. And so they start week one they get five or six or seven, week number two then they start to get more. So, so that’s why I think it’s helpful to take three to four weeks for your first party really gives you the time to plan and get all the invitations and everybody to say that they’re going to do it.
00:33:31,020 –> 00:33:35,868
[al]: And can they bring their partners as well, is that something you recommend during a first party like this or just ask for the mate to come, don’t bring your partner or anybody else what would you say?
00:33:42,567 –> 00:33:43,208
[nick__nickgraynews]: I’m so glad that you asked for the first parties when it’s just your mates when you’re making friends, when it’s just for fun, yes they can bring their partners. The more the merrier. Just make sure that they rsvp. Later parties, when you might want to do them for professional reasons, for more business networking, then you’d say something like. Hey, I’m really trying to curate this towards business professionals so we can have more targeted discussions about eCommerce or SaaS or hiring or whatever, and for that reason, if I’m trying to curate the group for professional reasons then I’ll suggest maybe maybe not bringing a partner or spouse or something like that.
00:34:27,082 –> 00:34:31,283
[al]: Isn’t that kind of like rude to tell them or is that okay?
00:34:31,147 –> 00:34:31,929
[nick__nickgraynews]: I think it’s okay. I’ve never had a problem before when they understand that the purpose is professional. But just remember we’re getting ahead of ourselves for your first party you’re just going to invite whoever and your first couple parties you’re just learning the formula. So that then when you’re ready to do this for business or networking you know that you can crush it.
00:34:53,660 –> 00:34:58,886
[al]: Got it. And what other tips would you say that are things you need to watch out when you’re hosting the very first one?
00:35:01,428 –> 00:35:03,010
[nick__nickgraynews]: So you want to make sure that you send three reminder messages. Those reminder messages keep your event top of mind so that people will show up. And the second and third ones have my secret weapon that’s called guest bios which I can include a link may be in the show notes, all about how to write them and what they are. And as we’re speaking about the show notes I’ll also include about how to host a happy hour, how to plan a networking event, even how to host a clothing swap which people are loving so that could be fun.
00:35:36,090 –> 00:35:46,227
[al]: Cool. right. I’m just thinking. Okay, so the very first party. let’s say I’m going to do that, and the second one after that, you said the seven-week gap, is that a good gap for the very first one? Let’s say I call my mates in, the second one is going to be in seven weeks, is that okay?
00:36:01,597 –> 00:36:03,024
[nick__nickgraynews]: Or you can do six weeks that’s up to you. Six weeks, you can do a month, you can do a month that depends yeah.
00:36:07,750 –> 00:36:12,158
[al]: Got it. That was definitely helpful, we’re gonna add all those links in the show notes, so people can look it up. And this is something I ask pretty much everybody I meet. What would be the three books that really did help you or change the way you look at things? So this so I can add them to my reading list right. So this is how I discover books, I ask my guest.
00:36:33,927 –> 00:36:38,795
[nick__nickgraynews]: I like that. That’s really nice. so the number one is, the best book I ever read about how to write a nonfiction book was called write useful books. Write Useful Books by a guy named Rob Fitzpatrick. Number two, there’s a book about hosting more of the theory. My book is very tactical and practical. There’s another book that’s theoretical. Why do we gather? What’s the purpose? That book is called: The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. And then the third and final book that I’ll recommend. I’m sure you’ve read it by James Clear, Atomic Habits, such a good book.
00:37:16,690 –> 00:37:18,413
[al]: Hundred percent, hundred percent, definitely one of the best books and helps a lot. You seem to be quite extroverted right now, but you said you quite introverted back in the day. What tips would you give to somebody maybe not necessarily fully introverted, somebody in the middle to be more extroverted? Anything they can do apart from housing parties. What can they do personally to be a tiny bit more extroverted? Maybe he can walk up to somebody and start a conversation. The social awkwardness, how can they improve that?
00:37:51,528 –> 00:37:55,708
[nick__nickgraynews]: That’s a good question. I think you know I’m going to sell my own book and I’m going a push it. But I think hosting a party, when you can control a crowd, when you can lead conversation amongst your friends when you can host in your own home, I’ll give you an example. There’s a guy here in Texas, whose name is Adam. He told me I always want to meet more people, I always wanted to have more social confidence. I never did that before I hosted your party. Now he’s hosted four parties, he read my book. And he said when he goes to other people’s parties, he runs these rounds of icebreakers. When he goes to other events he’s bringing people together to lead these icebreakers. His life has totally changed because he knows that it works. He’s seen that it works so that’s the biggest thing. You need you just need to see that it works.
00:38:45,250 –> 00:38:51,946
[al]: Superb. That was definitely helpful. Nick thanks for coming on the pod. Appreciate the time. Thank you very much.
00:38:52,917 –> 00:38:54,670
[nick__nickgraynews]: Awesome, thank you for having me, thanks, everybody.
00:38:56,651 –> 00:38:59,564