Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Insider Tips for C-Level Summertime Entertaining

Whether it’s at the golf course or your summer retreat, at a country club reception or the VIP chalet your firm is hosting, summertime brings an uptick in business-related social activities. Here are some tips on how to maximize C-level summertime entertaining and have a good time while still conducting business. 

GettyImages-457034555-compressorGentlemen, ditch the power tie and wingtips; ladies, lose the power suit and pumps. It’s time to slip into summertime-casual. The outfits may be less formal, but you still need to be on your toes, so be sure to bring your A game to the summer social scene. This is where high-level business relationships are formed and developed. Jacqueline Whitmore, international etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, and Marty Bauman, public relations guru for high-end equestrian events like the Hampton Classic, offer their best suggestions to help put you—and your guests—at ease all summer long.

1.  Get some social intel. “Learn a little bit about who’s attending your event,” says Whitmore. “Find out what you and your guests might have in common and keep a couple of conversational topics at hand. Perhaps one guest lives in the same community you do, or has a child enrolled at the school your child attends. When you can chat comfortably about non-business topics you’ll put them right at ease.”

2. Coach any special guests in advance. “If you have a special guest coming to the function, brief them in advance and encourage them to mention your company by name if they’re going to entertain or speak publicly,” says Bauman. “At the Hampton Classic, for example, we often have Olympic riders visiting our sponsor’s chalet“ for post-event socializing. “As the sponsor, you might chat with this guest in advance” so he or she can mention your company’s name meaningfully in their remarks.

3. This reminds me of a story… “Prepare a few lighthearted stories to tell,” Whitmore suggests. “These should be short and perhaps humorous, but never off-color or political. Keep them brief and light. Everybody loves a good story.”

“Find out what you and your guests might have in common and keep a couple of conversational topics at hand.”

4. Turn off your cell phone. She also reminds people to “Put the phone away. Keep it off the table. Nobody who might call that moment should distract you from paying attention to your guests.”

5. Set service expectations. Bauman encourages everyone to “Meet the heads of the service teams who will staff your event. Introduce yourself to the head of the catering team, for example, and give them a feeling for the kind of hospitality you offer your guests.”

6.  From the desk of… Whitmore suggests that hosts “follow up with hand-written notes the next day. Paper and pen is much better than email. If you mentioned a great restaurant in someone’s neighborhood, look up the restaurant’s address and write it down for them.”

7.  Brand. Brand. Brand. “Brand as much as you can” without going overboard, says Bauman. “Get signage featuring your corporate logo. Print your company’s name on cocktail napkins. Even the mints should have your logo.”

Perhaps the most important tip of all: Mingle. “Just go up and talk to people, don’t wait for them to come to you,” says Whitmore. “Find someone to introduce you. If you can’t find someone to do that, go stick your hand out and say hello and your name.”


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.