Would you pay someone to encourage mingling at your own party? Well, for Rachel Fay, that is exactly her job description...
As the UK's first, and currently only, professional introducer, Rachel's role at a party is to introduce guests, keep conversation circles rotating and the chatter flowing. Ultimately, she wants to illuminate the host's nerves about how guests will interact with each other and whether or not the soirée will be a sociable success.
Charging from £250 to £2,500 depending on the host's needs, Rachel is a firm believer that the art of mingling is dying, and set up her business after the parties she was attending were becoming increasingly flat. She found that guests were glued to their phones and awkward around new people.
Now, Rachel has played hostess at more than 100 parties, and even introduced for Prince Charles.
Speaking to Mail Online, Rachel Fay reveals her top tips on how to be the perfect hostess.
1. Invite extra people
You should invite enough people to fill the party space and bear in mind that, on average, 30% of people don't turn up. Being in a wide open space can make guests feel uncomfortable so it's better to be a little compact.
2. Do some prep work
Think about which of your guests have similar interests or you think will get on well. Then on the night, guide them in the right direction. Another good idea is to prepare topics of conversation, such as films, holidays or recent news.
3. Delegate duties
Rather than handling all of the jobs yourself, get other family members or close friends to carry out some tasks, such as being the greeter at the front door.
4. Keep the energy up
Conversation should always be flowing, which is easier if guests meet a few people at a time, rather than everyone. It's essential to keep the energy of the party up to make it a success.
5. You can interrupt
It's a good idea to introduce newcomers to people who already know each other, so there is a sense of familiarity there already. But be careful not to do this too often, as it can get annoying.
6. Save people that are looking awkward
Is one of your guests looking unhappy or uncomfortable in a particular chat, looking around the room and fidgeting a lot? Go up to the 'stuck' person and say you'd like to introduce them to someone that's just arrived. This prevents them feeling like they can't escape.
7. As hostess have two-minute conversations
Make sure not to get too involved in your own conversations, and limit them to two minutes each. Your job is to introduce everyone else to each other.
8. Avoid looking at your phone
It's very easy to fall into the trap of looking at your phone when you're feeling a little anxious. But this can give off very anti-social signals. Mingling, interacting and introducing don't involve your phone anyway.
This article, by Katie Avis-Riordan, first appeared in County Living in November 2017