Thursday, December 2, 2010

Be a Good Guest - Honor Your RSVP

This post is written on behalf of all party hosts - including you. Yes, I will be voicing my own personal frustrations of late. But these frustrations are shared by you and every other host out there and I felt that something had to be said. At the same time, I am guilty of being a bad guest on occasion myself.

What am I irritated about? RSVPs. The simple act of responding to an invitation with a 'yes' or a 'no' on attendance and then following through.

I've sold Pampered Chef for over 13 years. In my early years I was gung-ho with hosting an average of three parties a week. I had to coach the hosts to have the best party possible and part of it was getting them to be realistic about RSVPs in the modern age. I told them to invite as many people as possible and to expect a third of them to show up. That means if you invite 30 people, you'll be lucky if 10 show up. How discouraging is that!? In this case, though, we were talking about a shopping party.

How about an actual social party? We are entering holiday party season. There will be plenty of social parties. How will people handle RSVPs? How will the host feel?

Put your host hat on now. You clean your house. You shop and spend money on the necessary items you need. You decorate your house. In many cases you might cook or bake. Finally, you set everything out and await your guests. As hosts we put out a lot of time, money, and effort.

In my recent case I hosted a party on a Sunday and sent out about 20 invitations. In terms of a social party, the ratio should be about 50% of the people will attend. Here is what happened. (Now my friends will go through this figuring out which they are, but that's not the point of this exercise. It's to show a spectrum of how RSVPs work these days.)

4 people immediately said they could not come.
1 person first said yes, and then a few days later changed to a no.
1 person said yes enthusiastically and then didn't show - forgot.
1 couple said yes and I was certain they would show and they didn't.
1 was a maybe and didn't show.
1 was a yes and then an hour before the party emailed they weren't coming.
1 couple was invited, I never heard from them all week, then the day of the party I get a text saying they couldn't come.
3 people never responded at all.
2 people who said yes actually did show up.
2 people who I never heard from surprised me by showing up.

So I had 5 people. As a host, this is really frustrating.

I said up front that I'm guilty myself. The day before I was supposed to go to an open house selling party. I had a migraine, took my meds, and by the time the headache was gone I realized I had totally forgotten the open house. I had to send an email apology. I felt terrible even though I had a pretty legitimate reason.

We are now officially into holiday party season. In some cases we have multiple parties on the same day/night. Please be realistic, honest and do your host a favor - RSVP and then honor your RSVP by showing up if you said you would. Not only will your host thank you, but you'll be happy when people show you the same respect when you host your next party.
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