When Smaller Is Better

When my kids were small I instituted a birthday party policy that said they could have a big, blowout birthday party every other year. On the off year, however, they could only invite one or two friends to a fun event or dinner out with our family. I remember sharing this plan with them and there were lots of complaints and sadness--mostly about the lack of birthday gifts they would receive.  But as we settled into this routine, a funny thing happened. After a number of years, the kids always chose a smaller, more intimate party. They explained that the big parties were never as much fun because no one really cared about them or the fact that it was their birthday. Even the allure of more gifts did not tempt them to invite hoards of teenagers to their celebrations. They preferred smaller.

I don't believe they're alone in that. In a recent resident retention blog, Brent Williams dared to question the effectiveness of large community parties to truly connect people. He observed that smaller gatherings are much more likely to facilitate good conversation and, therefore, better connections. In a larger gathering it is easy to get lost in the crowd and never really get to know people.

That doesn't mean larger gatherings are not effective. At Apartment Life, our community development strategy includes both. Well executed large parties are great for creating a sense of excitement and first introductions. But deeper connection primarily occurs in smaller gatherings. And that's the kind of connection that creates loyal residents and brand ambassadors. We'd love to help you consider ways to leverage all sizes of gatherings.