For social butterflies, attending social gatherings and being fabulous is a walk in the park and as easy as 1-2-3. For others, it can be torture. You may know the feeling of being stuck at a corporate party and struggling to mingle with strangers you can’t relate to, all while pretending to have a good time. You yearn to head home, but you know this get-together is vital for business networking and there are important people you need to meet. In other words, no matter how uncomfortable it is, it’s part of your job.
In this situation, even starting a conversation can be tricky, especially when there is pressure to build a lasting relationship. What to do? Fear not, there are ways and they are very simple (and no, alcohol is not required):
Give a compliment
Complimenting people is always a nice gesture. Try noting a fellow attendee’s good taste in shoes or cocktail dress as an effective ice-breaker. People love to hear good things about themselves, so let them have it.
Commenting on the food
The most common thing people do at a party is eat. During the event you may find yourself standing near others who are eating. Make the best of the situation by commenting on the food with the people you want to reach out to. Try recommending the roast beef or comment on the delicious pastries or choice of wines. It just might lead to a meaningful conversation.
Ask about their work
“Where do you work?” is the most common opening line. There is a reason for that: it rarely fails, especially in a meet-up among professionals. If you are looking for information on the industry where they work, this is a good way to start because people love to talk about their business. If you happen to know people they know, don’t hesitate to drop names to build trust and credibility.
Make comments on their name
At certain events, people are required to wear a name tag. It is acceptable to comment on their name to get their attention without being rude. “Your name reminds me of someone great.” Or jokingly say, “Are you the lead singer of that legendary band?” People love attention and to talk about themselves so don’t hesitate to provide them with a platform.
Talk about the venue
Yes, anything about the venue. From its architecture and design, décor, wallpaper, to the mile-long queue at the toilets or how difficult it was to find a parking space. But try to sound conversational rather than plaintive.
Big news in the industry
If you know some big news within a particular industry, discussing it with others could lead to a productive conversation while demonstrating your expertise. If you can engage them, you have a better chance of getting opportunities for your company and yourself
Sometimes you really don’t know how to start a conversation or aren’t feeling confident enough to try the above methods. All you need to do is be honest and be yourself. Saying something like: “Hi, I am new here and I don’t really know anyone else; can you introduce me?” may sound embarrassing but people will admire your frankness. Before you know it, conversations will flow and interactions will happen, and next thing you know you’ll be looking at your watch and marveling at how quickly the time has passed.
This article presented by dailysylvia.com, The Only Website for Indonesian Career Woman.