Whether you're at a work event or social gathering, finding yourself in a room where you don't know anyone can be stressful, says John Corcoran, creator of Smart Business Revolution, in a recent article at Forbes.com. But before you take out your phone to hide in the corner, Corcoran offers some tips on how to make friends in any room and blend in seamlessly.
1. Set a goal: Make a goal of how many people you plan to talk to, such as the goal of meeting at least one new person per hour or introducing yourself to five people before you leave the event. "By setting goals, you are more likely to compel yourself to start meeting people," Corcoran says.
2. Offer to refill someone’s drink: Need an excuse to approach someone? If you notice a person's drink low and they’re caught up in something else, approach and politely ask if you could refill their glass. "Doing so will immediately make you more likeable, and it may even be an opening to strike up a conversation with someone you haven't met yet," Corcoran says.
But, he warns, avoid potential awkwardness by clarifying at the onset what drink they want.
3. Don’t overfriend: Free yourself from having to feel like you have to impress every person at the event. Be satisfied with meeting a few people and then focus on deepening those relationships.
You may find you have more meaningful impact by taking the time to connect with just a few than striving to have quick, superficial conversations with every person in attendance.
4. Stay focused on the other person: Leave your ego at the door and focus on making the other person feel special and interesting, Corcoran says. "Come prepared with some starter questions which aren't the same-old 'what do you do?'" Corcoran says.
"Try asking less job-related questions, which tend to be the kinds of topics people love talking about, like 'so do you have any fun plans this weekend?' Ironically, if you let someone else talk about themselves, you look really cool in their eyes because you’re listening to them."
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