The Host With the Most: Meet Nick Gray, Cocktail Party Curator (Podcast)

Mia Quagliarello / October 4, 2022

“When you host a lightweight cocktail party, you now have a way to go through life, collecting these new and interesting people and bringing them into your world…You use these parties as an audition to see who you would like to become better friends with.” — Nick Gray, creator of “The 2-Hour Cocktail Party”

Whether you’re new to a place or getting on in your years, it can feel increasingly hard to make friends. But Nick Gray has devised a blueprint to change that, outlined step-by-step in his book, “The 2-Hour Cocktail Party.”

Nick’s essentially created a system that’s like an audition for who gets to be your friend. It’s a way to turn even introverts into super connectors. And it’s proof that when you stop being too cool to care, you’ll start connecting with people for real. 

At the heart of Nick’s formula is curating who gets to be invited to these highly structured IRL events. (I attended one in San Francisco over the summer, and I can attest that they are effective and fun.) In this episode, Nick deconstructs his approach to curating people for parties with solid results. It’s a great one for anyone who wants to go from being a party pooper to a party planner.

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings: 

  • Nick’s two-hour cocktail party formula (N.I.C.K.) in a nutshell
  • Curating people for chemistry 
  • The importance of name tags and icebreakers
  • Curating conversations, especially in “the awkward zone”
  • Effectively maintaining the ties you’ve cultivated 

You can find “The Art of Curation” podcast on Flipboard as well as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and anywhere else you might listen to podcasts. Please subscribe so you never miss an episode, and don’t forget to rate, review and share, especially if you like what you hear. 

The companion Storyboard also has the episode, plus more about Nick and everything he recommended in the show.

— Mia Quagliarello, head of creator community and newsletters, is curating The Art of Curation Magazine