Having great conversation is essential for any type of fun gathering, from a funny story to discussing the important topics of the day. Keeping the conversation going is what keeps the party going. When guests are engaged with one another and with you, they are entertained and want to stay. As host, sometimes you have to make that happen.
Coffee Table Talk
On our coffee table I keep a beautiful bowl, an open box or a tray of some pictures I've had printed in various sizes. We have phones full of images so share them. They'll be pictures from a trip, recent holiday, an installation or event I've done, images from a museum I went to and pictures of my guests when we've been together. I keep the container of pictures in a place that's easy to see and access.
When needed, I call attention to the pictures and we can talk about them. Often guests notice them and that will start a conversation. After trips it's especially fun to have a few pictures of highlights to share. Only keep 10-15 images; you don't want it to turn into a hour long play-by-play of the trip. Just spark a conversation to keep everyone engaged.
What Ya Reading?
In the reading area I'll have the books we are reading and magazines open to an article I've read. It's a great conversation starter and we should always being reading something. One part of my party planning process is taking time to read so I have a few interesting points to talk about. Taking a few moments for ourselves everyday will keep stress levels lower and we can better enjoy our own parties.
The art of conversation takes practice; having a few tools around will help you and your guests to keep conversing. I love when hours have past unnoticed and a guest says "oh my, we've been here 5 hours!" That's how I know they've had a good time.