how to receive guests and alienate no one

Here’s an idea: it’s really easy to be a host. Then how come we’ve seen it go wrong so many times? Even some of us here go through it hiccuping. It must be that no one beyond good housekeeping magazines and Mad Men explained the ABC, so I’m about to make history by writing up all of its three steps… on the blog of a design & technology company.

in the cherry blossom’s shade/ there’s no such thing/ as a stranger Kobayashi Issa

Where is your calm and pleasant space to have a chat with your guests? Is it tidy, is it orderly, is it ready to receive a person or twenty? If you’re the host, you’ll want your theatre of play set up in advance, so that when guests arrive you have no other focus but them. When you get on board an airplane, when you enter a cinema screen, and a concert venue, everything awaits you in good order, and that makes you feel great. Your guests deserve the same welcome, and it costs… a little bit of your time.

what is there more kindly than the feeling between host and guest? Aeschylus

Your guests might be early, or late. You’ll be on time, around, ready to say hello; at the very least, you’ll make sure it’s done by proxy. Your guests have just traveled to see you, often rushing between places and people, so they will naturally need a buffer zone to get into the right mindset. Offer a seat, offer a wifi password, enquire about the drink they’d like and then go fetch it yourself. It will give them space to catch their breath, recall the context, prepare their props or simply stretch their legs and take in the atmosphere. Be kind, be respectful, be patient. Create the physical and mental space that spells freedom, in which initial total strangers, even if only estranged by distance, can part friends.

there is nothing to which men, while they have food and drink, cannot reconcile themselves George Santayana

You should make sure you always break bread with your guests. Grabbing a bite together is a wonderful way to remove any standing divide, as the host offers their best, and the guests enjoy the food and the respect implied by the gesture. For us, bread takes the form of pastry in the morning and cake in the afternoon, and there’s always fruit as backup. When we’re known for offering the best treats London has up its sleeve, it translates into being known for our commitment to guests, open conversation, and a space where anyone can stumble upon a meeting of minds. What more could a host hope for?

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