The grill’s ready for some barbecue, your friends are ready for some liquor, and you’re ready to let loose for a few hours. Here are some tips to turn your cookout into the highlight of the season and to help you master the backyard bash.
1. The Party Primer: How to Keep the Good Times Rolling
Contain the Space
To ensure your cookout feels full, says Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering, confine the party area so that people aren’t widely dispersed, draining the energy. “Density is your friend,” she adds, so don’t let people hang out in the kitchen, sucking away momentum.
But Spread Out the Goods
You want to give people reasons to keep moving and chatting with other guests. To that end, separate the essentials—the punch bowl, the appetizers, the beer cooler—so guests aren’t stagnant.
Play by the Rules
“People like rules,” explains Parker—in part because they give us an excuse to interact. One example: No pouring yourself a drink; someone else has to do it. Another: Everyone has to add a song to the playlist. Whichever rule you chose, have fun with it and casually mention it to guests as they arrive. They’ll be interacting soon enough.