Working a room at a social or professional gathering can be overwhelming. If you don’t fancy yourself a social butterfly then the challenge can be even more difficult to overcome.
But do you know what people at these events want?
The best part about going to events is people are looking to meet fun and interesting people just like you. That’s why they are there! Don’t pressure yourself. You don’t have to be the life of the party. Just be good enough to remember.
Ok, so you’ve entered the event. You look fresh. You’re feeling good about yourself and are ready to make some good connections. You even have a buddy to help tackle the crowd. There isn’t a single soul that you recognize. Maybe you spot the host who greets you and shortly takes off to entertain others. You’re on your own now.
What do you do?
Work the Room Like the Badass You Are
Act Like You Belong
Enter the place with a purpose.
Alter your physiology so you can alter your psychology. Maintain a confident presence with your body language—even if it doesn’t feel natural. The game begins once you enter the room. People can sense a confident vibe. Fake it till you make it if you have to.
To get in the zone I listen to my favorite music and stand-up comedy. The music motivates me. The comedy makes me loose and positive.
If social settings feel uncomfortable then take comfort in knowing that someone else in there feels the same way. A lot of people are more insecure than you think. They also want to be liked and accepted.
This might not seem like a big deal but crossing your arms can close people off. Stand up like a boss but be approachable. Smile and have good eye contact. Even though you are mentally open to meeting new people, your body language could prevent others from approaching you.
Pro tip: Keep your drink in your left hand. When you shake hands, you’re not using a cold, wet hand. To make sure your hand isn’t cold and clammy, do a nonchalant wipe on your pants before extending your hand for a firm but friendly grip.
We go to gatherings to meet a potential client or life partner, but an abundant life is about sharing.
Open up your network to other people. Introduce a job-seeker to a recruiter you know. Use your active listening skills to connect that person with someone else you just met.
Introduce two strangers to each other. It’s fun and random. Who knows how it turns out.
Talk to People!
This is the most difficult part. It’s easy to lurk in the corner with your buddy or just hover at the bar.
It’s really as easy as extending your hand and saying “Hi.” You don’t have to begin the interaction with a profound question. Break the ice and start the conversation with a simple question. You’ll run into awkward silences but this is okay. It happens when you meet new people.
Be observational. At networking events, people will usually wear name tags that include their company name. Ask about their company. Ask party guests how they know the host or what they think of the music.
Keep it Short and Sweet
The object is to work the room—not find a group and hang out with them the entire time. Beelining it to your target can be effective but take the time to meet others. The world is small. You never know who can pass an introduction. Aim for a maximum of 10-minute stints per interaction/group before you move on.
Quantity over quality at first. Meet as many people as you can. You can go back to the quality interactions later on.
Pro tip: Always remember to be yourself. Faking it to impress someone is a cardinal sin of being a badass.
As Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
Recite their name when you meet them. When you use their name next time you see them, you’ll be much more memorable to them.
Close the Sale
This is where the magic happens. Ask for the contact information or meeting. Ask for the date. This is the goal of the entire event, right?!
“Hey, it was great speaking with you, can I get your contact information?” “You seem very fun and friendly, let’s grab a drink sometime. What’s your number?”
Simplicity is always the best route.
If you take anything away from this post, make it this:
2. Stand confidently.
3. Just say “hello.”
4. Ask questions about them.
5. Ask for the sale.
This post is about working a room, but more importantly, it’s about creating relationships with people. As annoying and frustrating as it can be, meeting new people is important to your success (and maybe even your offspring).