Does the thought of mingling with a roomful of strangers make you long for the painful solitude of a root canal? Or are you a party animal who never meets a stranger?
Breaking into a group engaged in conversation can be daunting to even the most outgoing. But given the fact that most of us are social beings, we also share similar insecurities about mingling. Most people appreciate being approached. We compiled some tips on how to do it with finesse.
- Check your body language. Look like you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself. People who look like they are having fun become magnets.
- Find your hosts and compliment them on the party. Mention that you don’t know many people, and they’ll probably introduce you to a few.
- You have to be seen to get noticed, so wander. Change locations, visit the bar or buffet. It’ll give you a chance to scan the room for interesting people.
- Be proactive, as scary as it seems. Make the first move. Make eye contact and have an opening line or a question prepared that will give others the chance to talk about themselves. (Love your dress, your shoes, your toe ring…)
- If you’re breaking into a group of people who seem to know each other, be sure to appear interested in what the group is talking about, even if the conversation is deathly boring – an attentive listener is always appreciated.
- Avoid telling jokes. If they fall flat, you’ll want to hide under the buffet table.
- Read the paper that day so you’ll have something to talk about. Especially the gossip columns, everyone loves that!
- If you have trouble remembering names of people you’ve just met or even someone you’ve met before, repeat your name to them. This should prompt them to do the same.
- A practiced mingler should always have an exit strategy. One tip is to approach the group with a nearly empty drink. If the conversation or the people turn out to be really impossible, it’s a good time to re-fill the drink. Bye-bye.
- When leaving, don’t forget to thank the hosts!