No more hiding behind the hors d’oeuvres table! If you want to make an impression at the next party you go to, just follow these tips we got from the folks at Psychology Today.
- Have a mental road map. Psychologist Bernardo Carducci says conversations with strangers typically move through the following stages: The opening line and introductions, trying out topics and searching for common ground, and closure – when you tell the person you have to go, sum up what you learned and exchange contact information if you wish. Once you internalize these steps, you’ll always have a mental map of where to go next.
- Stay informed. If you’re going someplace next week, know what happened THIS week. Everything from local business deals to what’s going on between George and Izzie on Grey’s Anatomy. Or who got booted from Dancing With the Stars. You don’t have to be an expert on a topic, just know a little about things that are timely. Also, to help conversations flow, Carducci says apply the two rules of brainstorming: Throw in comments without trying to impress people, and don’t judge ideas as they come up. Others will be more willing to chat if they don’t feel criticized.
- Warm up. Arrive early so you can meet people one-on-one. Then when more people arrive, move onto “quick talk.” This is when you talk to a lot of different people for short periods of time – it takes pressure off you. Have the same conversation with 8 or 10 people as you make your way through the crowd. This way you’re warming up, like someone at a race. Then you can go back to the people who interested you.
- Look approachable. If you get nervous and try to hide that behind a neutral expression, others can misinterpret you as being aloof or hostile. To give off a warm vibe, practice looking up with a welcoming smile in a mirror. When we hunch up and lower our heads, we feel more closed off. But if you stand tall and lift your head, your attention will move outward – and you’ll draw others to you.