To Host, or Not to Host?  That is The Question

To Host or not to Host?

That is the Question …

…you might ask when thinking about organizing an open-house for your business or organization.

If you answer ‘YES’ (like I did!), be warned thou might end up like prince Hamlet, contemplating your death and suicide:

Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to Suffer – (you’ll end up seeking professional help)

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune – (no fortunes to be made, in fact you’ll lose money on the nibbles everyone will ignore, as they head straight for the booze)

Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles – (more like a Tsunami)

And by opposing, end them – (the only thing to end is the thought it would be easy).

A couple of years couple of years ago I became president of a speaker’s club (part of Toastmasters International) and in a fit of over-confidence I decided to host an open-house so elaborate, so magnificent, it would rival the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of the Danish play.

Unfortunately, it turned out more like a low budget version of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, filled with chaos, comedy and confusion.

And before you quote ‘The lady doth protest too much methinks…’, let me tell you why, compared to being an MC, Hamlet has it easy!

First of all, he’s from Denmark, a country that for the past ten years has scored among the top three nations in The World Happiness Report. No offense but if you’re a Dane and insist on moaning, you deserve to be miserable.

Yes, its bad news Hamlet’s uncle kills his Dad and marries Mum, but at least he doesn’t have the Keynote speaker fooling around with the helium balloons and then saying he has no idea why his voice sounds funny …!

In Hamlet’s words: Doubt truth be a liar.

Plus, his dad mentors him. OK, Dad’s a ghost, which is scary, but not as frightening as the local newspaper’s reporter turning up and saying, ‘Oh just ignore me … pretend I’m a guest’. GULP.

As a host, you’re riding SOLO – no coaching, in fact you’re the coach, and just like a football match – if the night goes well, ‘What a fantastic event! The speakers were wonderful!’, if it turns out bad, ‘The host was sh#t.’

I felt like José Mourinho, loved one minute, hated the next, and no one could pronounce my name correctly.

Lastly, the Danish prince moans endlessly but doesn’t do much does he? As MC you have loads of work, never mind hosting.

I’ve been a marriage counselor ‘We’ve been married for 35 years, will this help?’,

a nurse (helping Keynote with the helium balloon situation),

a shrink (helping the speakers get over themselves ),

a self-motivator (helping me get over myself),

a detective (helping people find glasses, car keys, wallets and husbands)

and finally a politician, ‘We’ve heard other speaking clubs are much better, what do you think?’

When Sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions!

So, if it’s that difficult why do it? Well, it’s for those magic moments, like when a famous soul singer came on stage impromptu and someone (me), ruined it by joining in with a tambourine.

It’s also about worldwide recognition, ‘Are you Sonia Aste? Does this include free drinks?’

TO HOST OR NOT TO HOST? My advice is to go for it! Give it all you’ve got, because despite everything that went a little wrong, we signed up new members and were featured in the local press!

In summary, every organization and/or business is uniquely wonderful and an open-house is a great way to SHOW-OFF!

Sorry, I meant, ‘Show members of the public what you’re all about’.

It’s time to be brave! Be bold! Be brilliant! Above all, be yourself – because as Shakespeare writes: To Thine Own Self Be True.

Which is the best advice of all.


Sonia Aste is an engineer, writer and comedian. When she hosting an open-house she’s also a marriage counsellor, nurse, shrink, motivator, detective and a politician.

Published by Toastmasters International UK & Ireland

Published by Riverside Communicators Club

6 Responses to To Host, or Not to Host? That is The Question

  1. So you’ve become a rather versatile renaissance woman huh? I mean marriage guidance and nursing via a detective?! I tip my cap to you for handling it all with such aplomb. And of course for getting people to stay positive along the way!

  2. Good article. Hosting an open-night requires extra skills than just a regular event. Being able to sustain the energy of the evening even when things go wrong is essential.

  3. Well said Sonia. Just the kind of witty, yet informative piece that anyone who’s lucky enough to know her, has come to expect.
    The best way to grow as people is to push ourselves, to try things which challenge our comfort zone. Having recently done an open-house for our club, it is definitely one of those occasions.

  4. Definitely give it a go! On the night you will have some pressure, and some things will not go as planned, but that’s part of being a leader. Being able to think on your feet and make last minute decisions.

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