Last updated: September 27, 2023
I recently hosted a weeklong series of events in Phoenix, Arizona for my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party.
Over a period of four nights, I hosted four events with readers of my book in four different venues.
It was kind of crazy. And lots of fun.
In this article I will give you an overview, share some lessons learned, a behind-the-scenes video, and a few great photos.
Monday: Louis’ Party
I landed on Monday afternoon and met Shaggy Eells at the airport. Shaggy helps me with articles on my How to Host a Party website, host support, outreach, and a bunch more.
He and I rented a car, went to our Airbnb (thanks Derek!), then drove to Louis Shulman’s apartment for the cocktail party.
Louis was able to pack his apartment full of 35+ people! It was super fun to meet his friends.
I was even able to do a few more advanced activities, like lightning talks, and show Louis how to facilitate them for his future events.
This party was a perfect example that hosting in a small apartment is better than a big one.
Previously, Louis interviewed me on his podcast. He’s hosted 8 parties now using my book and is a star student.
Notes and Lessons
- I arrived in Phoenix straight off of a flight from Singapore. I was so jet lagged! I almost did not make it to my own party
- Louis has hosted many 2-Hour Cocktail Parties and he has a huge network now in the Phoenix area. Truly an excellent success story of how you can use my book to meet friends and potential customers.
- Me and Shaggy went back and worked-out at Louis’ apartment Gym one day. Ask Louis about stretching and flexibility!
Tuesday: Tyrel’s Party
The next day was totally different.
Tyrel Johnson is a long-time reader of mine. His brother let him use his apartment’s common space as a venue. It was a big challenge to manage the security access to get to the space, but we learned a lot and everything worked out in the end.
I did a full behind-the-scenes video of this cocktail party, so you can watch the start to end of this one here on YouTube:
Notes and Lessons
- Tyrel did a GREAT job making a lot of helpful signs for visitors.
- This party had a lot of people from LinkedIn and Twitter who attended and did not know each other.
- I am so thankful for Tyler. He paid to rent this space and I appreciate his support.
- Major lesson learned: Walk the entire entrance plan, from the time a guest exits their car to where they enter the party. Consider all security access needed when you host in a shared space like an apartment complex.
Wednesday: Jake and Kim’s Party
I met Jake through the internet. He heard my story on the Art of Manliness podcast.
Jake is an experienced host. He liked the idea of an easy way to meet new people in his town. He loved the container of a “cocktail party” to gather all his random friends and new connections.
It sounded like a simple formula for a new style of lightweight gathering. So he bought my guidebook, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, and also got the Audible. Then he started hosting his own meetups.
Jake and his partner Kim offered to host a big meetup for my book tour. They volunteered to host it in their breathwork space in Tempe, Arizona.
30 of their friends showed up! We mixed and mingled and I led a few new group activities. It was great.
It was a great event. Jake even filmed a timelapse video for part of the party, which I thought was neat to see:
Here are a few more photos from that night.
The next day, Jake and Kim were gracious enough to lead me and my colleague Shaggy on a private breathwork class.
This was a cool experience inside of their studio.
I enjoyed how they used a mix of guided meditation, breathwork, a beautiful playlist, and live musical instruments to create a magical experience.
Check them out if you are in the Phoenix area and drop in one of their classes.
Notes and Lessons
- This was such an interesting venue. There were no windows and it was located in a strip mall.
- Jake and Kim are two of the nicest, warmest people that I have ever met.
- The diversity of attendees was refreshing at this party. Most of my circles have startup founders or tech workers. Jake and Kim invited artists, entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, and more.
- Lesson: Bring more books! And get them in the hands of attendees earlier to flip through it.
Thursday: Party at Culdesac
My friend Ryan Johnson started a huge project in Tempe, Arizona.
The best part about Culdesac is that it’s car-free. This style of living is popular in Europe, but this is the first American community to incorporate this lifestyle.
I was a bit worried leading up to this event. The temperature outside was above 100F (38C) and we were scheduled to be outdoors on a restaurant patio.
But thanks to some shade, the dry Arizona heat, and plenty of misters, everything worked out fine. We even got to go inside a nearby air conditioned space later to cool off and run icebreakers.
- What a way to end the week! Absolutely amazing venue and a lot of people showed up.
- This event was funny: at the start of the week, we almost had zero attendees. I was stressing out! But on the night of the event, it turned out to be our most popular party. Over 50 people showed up. I think that speaks highly about how popular Culdesac is and the community they are building.
- I have looked up to Ryan and what he is doing at Culdesac for several years. I am so thankful for their support and for hosting this event
- Ryan told me that it was a huge success and he loved seeing me work my magic and show off my skills as a facilitator. If I lived in Phoenix, I would definitely host more events with him and try to help them out with their great housing development.
- This was the hottest party that I have ever hosted, literally! The temperature was 105F outside. The party was hosted outdoors on the patio of a restaurant.
- Lesson: When we first arrived, I had to work with the staff to rearrange many of the tables and chairs outside to create more room for people to stand. The way that they had it set-up was much too crowded. Always arrive early!!
My weeklong book tour in Phoenix, Arizona was a lot of fun.
Thanks to Shaggy, Louis, Tyrel, Jake, Kim, and Ryan and the team at Culdesac for making it happen.
I hope to do another book tour soon.
Want me to come to your town and host a 2-Hour Cocktail Party? Email me to [email protected] and let me know where you live.