"Turn Down the Lights"

The year was 2000 and it was a bitterly cold November evening in Massachusetts.  I was visiting my friend Sheldon and happy to be heading to the warmth of a pre-holiday party in the heart of downtown Boston.

As we entered the apartment, I could sense something was amiss although I couldn’t put my finger on it. Everything seemed just right.  The style of the place was elegant, the crowd was diverse and interesting, the music was lively and the food was great. 

We did the usual “meet and greet” and then came a subtle yet powerful moment.

Engaged in small talk with the host, Sheldon whispered to him, “You have to turn down the lights”.  His delivery was firm yet caring.  Not much more was said and with Sheldon’s well-known social history, the host promptly acquiesced.

Now that my eyes were more open, it was unusually bright in the apartment and the moment could have easily been mistaken for a daytime party!

Once the lights came down, the mood and atmosphere immediately went up a level; an incredible transformation –  the final piece of the party puzzle.  Guests were more comfortable with the dimly lit room and the vibe became magnificent. What a difference. It was a lesson I’ll never forget.

I’ve tried (and usually succeeded) to pay attention to detail when hosting or putting together events although this moment was profound. It became crystal clear how important it is to have all the party elements in sync not just 90%.

The lesson:

Whether it is a meeting, party or any type of event, make sure to do all the things (little and big) necessary to ensure the moment is the best it can be for the guests. Attention to detail is critical.

Elements like temperature, lights, food, space, music and diversity (just to name a few) are crucial to get right.

The aforementioned party wouldn’t have been the same without Sheldon’s deft touch. 

It was a wonderful evening.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

The atmosphere at our (Elmer, Roland and Gswede) 2006 Halloween party was electric!

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