How To: Choreograph Lively Dinner Conversation

How To: Choreograph Lively Dinner Conversation

Sarah Rae Smith
Dec 11, 2008

Linda Stone, a former exec at Microsoft and Apple, has thrown dinner party after dinner party. She has let us in on her tricks of the trade when it comes to choreographing your next dinner party. And by party, we mean the table, not the sweet moves you have in store for the dance floor. Click through the jump to see the step by step to creating fascinating conversation.

We came across this fascinating article over at and it had us hooked. It takes laying out your typical placecards to a whole new level. It's great advice for a party at home, or even a large gathering such as a wedding. Check out the step-by-step instructions below, to making your party, literally the talk of the town.

Basic Rules

  • Eight to 12 people per table works best.
  • Never seat friends next to one another.
  • Ignore the old etiquette of alternating males and females.

    The Stone Strategy

  • Sort place cards into four "energy density" piles: H (high), M (medium), L (low), and ? (wild card).
  • Assign the H guests first. Seat them diagonally from one another. Never seat H people directly across from each other.
  • If you have guests with strong opposing views, seat them diagonally from each other, too.
  • Seat the L people next to the H people. When conversation bounces around the table, The Ls will be more inclined to participate because of their proximity to an H.
  • Scatter M and ? guests among the remaining open seats.

    The theory is that by scattering the energy around the table it should keep the conversation flowing like a river the entire night! No one feels left out or takes on too much of the conversation, which usually results in us hearing far too much about Aunt Lilly's boyfriend's cat.

    Do you have any tips to add to the pile? Leave us a comment and let us know!

    Links: Choreograph Lively Dinner Conversation @ Wired

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