Parties and social gatherings can induce feelings of dread when you're an introvert, but there are some simple ways to work the room if you're a little on the shy side. They will help make these events less of a chore and a bore, and more of something you can enjoy. If you're not a natural social butterfly, it's not unnatural to fear rejection and that's ultimately where the fear of socialising comes form. We can be debilitated by these questions which whir around our heads: "Will they like me?" and "Will they think I'm stupid if I say this?" Some of these fears can be deep-seated and sometimes stem from our childhood and early life experiences, but there are some simple ways to work the room during the party season and build your confidence at the same time.
One of the first ways to work the room and the first thing to do if you're feeling anxious, is to take a deep breath. This will help you to relax and calm down your nerves. Just think about the fact that most people, despite their confident exterior, will feel a little uncomfortable, so you're not alone. Also think about the fact that people are actually lucky to have you in their company because of all the great things you have accomplished in your life. If you want some 'natural' help, sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on a handkerchief and inhale the soothing and calming aroma. This will help to calm your nerves and is a better option than the traditional 'dutch courage' that some people opt for!
This is the most important thing to do when you're working the room. Apart from making yourself feel great, it will draw others to you. This will immediately break the ice and make you look more approachable. Standing scowling at the buffet table and comfort eating those delicious canapés just screams "I don't want to be here" and "I don't want anyone to speak to me." These non-verbal cues can really count so keep smiling and holding your head high, as this will make you look more confident and serene.
If you're struggling with conversation, the key is to listen to what other people are saying and show interest by nodding and making eye contact. Don't worry about what you should say next, just let it come naturally. Ask questions and use those subtle cues to show interest and enthusiasm. It's all about putting the other person at ease and if you're a little tense, this may come across, so relax.
4. Just Ask
People love to talk about themselves and one of the simple ways to connect with others at a party is to ask how they know the host. People love to regale others with their stories about how they know the host and the funny story about how they met. This can always be a great conversation starter.
5. Honesty is the Best Policy
It's always wise to be honest too. I'm not talking about saying how much you hate parties and socializing, just don't lie about what you do for a living in the hope of sounding more interesting. The truth always comes out and the last thing you want is to 'trip up' when you next meet them and they discover that your story doesn't quite add up. You are interesting just the way you are and don't need to be anyone other than yourself! People will love you for it.
6. Pay Compliments
People love compliments so try paying genuine compliments to people. Whether it's their shoes, their eye-shadow or their dress, it can be another great way to open a conversation. Also, have you ever noticed how once you feel at ease, you are more likely to open up to another person? Remember, people will forget what you said but will always remember how you made them feel, so be the person who made others feel great!
7. Look around
Take notice about what is going on around you. Look at the room layout and think about things to comment on when talking with others. There is always something to talk about during the holiday season, such as the room décor, which the host has taken time and effort to perfect, and the great range of food. Everyone always loves to talk about food!
If you're feeling nervous about an up and coming event, try practicing in more low pressure environments, for example with a shop assistant. These are just a few tips for the more introverted and reserved during the party season. What tips do you have for 'working the room' at a party?