If the idea of walking into a room full of strangers strikes fear into your heart… welcome to the club. But there are ways to overcome this common social phobia.
Step 1: Eat at home Eat before the party. You’re not going to meet anyone if you’re sitting down with a plate of food or constantly have your mouth full. Plus, you won’t have to worry about garlic breath, spinach in your teeth, and sauce on your face.
Step 2: Scope out the room Upon arrival, identify the most uncomfortable-looking person standing alone. Stride confidently up to them, and introduce yourself with a smile. Not only will this get you a warm reception, but it will prevent you from becoming the most pathetic person in the room.
TIP: A simple icebreaker like, 'So how do you know the host?' will help begin the conversation.
Step 3: Don’t get too comfortable Don’t get too comfortable with your new friend. The whole point of mingling is to meet new people, so excuse yourself after five or ten minutes of chitchat with a 'It was really nice meeting you.'
TIP: If you’re speaking to a VIP in the room, it’s particularly important that you move along, so you don’t monopolize their time.
Step 4: Find another target Find another target and begin the process again. Practice on enough wallflowers and you’ll soon have the confidence to approach someone intimidating.
Step 5: Let them talk Let the other person do most of the talking. And really listen—resist the urge to think about what you want to say next while they’re still babbling.
TIP: The key to successful schmoozing is to act like you’re fascinated by the other person, not trying to impress them with your wit and charm.
Step 6: Maintain eye contact Maintain eye contact. Not in a creepy, Hannibal Lecter way; just don’t scan the room for someone more interesting while your conversational partner is talking. That’s just plain rude—even if he is describing his appendectomy in excruciating detail.
Step 7: Welcome others Whenever you find yourself in a group, keep an eye out for loners hovering on the edge. Be gracious and bring them into the conversation.
Step 8: Give a business card Feel free to give our business cards, but be discriminating. Handing them out to every single person you come into contact with makes you look cheesy, not friendly.
Step 9: Leave early 'Leave them wanting more' is a good rule not only for individual chats, but for the event in general—especially if you’ve met someone intriguing. Better to disappear after you’ve made a good impression than hang around all night and risk ruining it!
FACT: Thirty percent of women surveyed said they are more drawn to the 'shy guy in the corner' than the 'ringmaster' of a party.