The best dinner party ever?

Pick five people you know and invite them to dinner. Let’s say they don’t know each other yet. How do you make sure everyone has a great time?

Do you start with your favourite dishes? The ones you love to cook and eat? Good food equals a good time. But Sally doesn’t eat meat. James is doing a liver cleanse. And Ian’s a bit fussy.

Okay, come back to food later.

What about cocktails? Everyone loves a cocktail. They get people talking. But what would they all like? Does everyone drink? Could get boozey. Could be fun though. Margaritas? Negronis? A bit of everything? Could cost a bit. Where to start?

The trouble with people is they like different things. So how do you find something that will appeal to everyone?

You don’t. The trick is to think about it the other way around.

Go right back to the start. It’s much easier if you pick a group that suits a dish, instead of a dish that suits a group.

Indulge in a decadent cheese-fest, and invite five cheese freaks. Create a paleo feast and invite five crossfitters. Show off your best salads and invite five vegetarians.

You can’t please everyone. But if you pick a small, specific group, and you find out what they like, you can really impress them.

Of course, when you do it that way, there will be people who don’t like it. Some people don’t like cheese. Some people don’t like just salad. That’s okay, they’re not invited anyway. You can ignore those people. When you know exactly who your guests are and what they like, and you picked them because they all share the same beliefs, your job is much easier.

People like what they like. Change can make people feel uncomfortable. But if you show up with something that matches their beliefs, it’s easier to connect with them.

You could twist yourself into knots, trying to make something that will please everyone. Or, you could decide up front who it is you’re trying to serve. And then, when you know exactly who they are and exactly what they like, all you have to do is show up generously and serve them.

This is not mass-marketing. This is not traditional marketing. This is not for everyone. This is for these people. Your people. This is about creating something meaningful and personal that is important to them. It’s about connecting and listening and caring that the people you’re doing this for are getting something for them.

And hopefully when those cheese freaks realise they just had the best cheese ever, they’ll tell a few cheese-minded friends that you made it for them. And then you might be able to make a few more dinners to serve a few more people.

And while you won’t get flooded with requests from everybody, you’ll be okay, because the only people that matter now, the cheese people, they will all know that you do the best cheese dinner party ever.

Originally published at on March 13, 2019.



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Brent Tunney

Brent Tunney


Sometimes I’m a designer, sometimes I’m a UX consultant and sometimes I’m a marketer. Mostly, I help you simplify and clarify things.