There’s nothing wrong with being the strong, silent type. In fact, there’s an old saying that goes “…It’s better to keep your mouth closed and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt..!” The thing is, at some point you’re going to be in a situation where you’re going to have to open your mouth. Words are gonna have to come out. Maybe it’ll be an open house, or an office party. Whatever the moment, some small talk “Do’s and Don’ts can always come in handy.
Believe it or not, there’s a right way and a wrong way to mingle. I have spent year mingling the wrong way or not at all. When I finally figured out how to mingle effectively it was like a revelation. There’s also a great little book called “The Fine Art of Small Talk” written by Debra Fine (www.debrafine.com) that I have found to be wildly helpful. But stop there – there are plenty of resources for mingling on the net.
But I’m here to mingle not to ramble. So let’s start working the room shall we?
So there you are…you’ve just arrived at whatever social function it is you are attending. DON’T just stand there waiting to be introduced. DO take a deep breath and go around and introduce yourself. At the very least say “Hello“. If there was ever a good jumping off point in a conversation and mingling…a basic greeting is it.
And speaking of which, as you walk around the room….DON’T be afraid to shake hands. DON’T wait for the other person to shake hands first. DO smile; give a firm handshake while looking at the individual in the eye.
Once you’ve broached the “hello” part….DON’T rush through your introduction. It’s a social function for cryin’ out loud, not a mini-interview in an elevator. DO take your time while mingling. Try to remember names and use name through a conversation. Having established that, DON’T begin your introduction beginning when you were 5 years old. DO be concise…a minute or two is more than enough to make someone want to hear more. In fact, AFTER a minute or tow it’s time to move on and mingle with someone new!
Now that the conversation is warming up….DON ‘T get carried away and talking about your wife and kids or dirty diapers. DO show a genuine interest in others. Get the other person to talk about why they are attending the event or what their relationship is with the host. DO not be afraid to poke fun at yourself: “These things are never easy for me because everyone just wants to know me because I’m one of the richest men in the world.” Bottom line — people want to be with people who make them feel important and special.
While talking DON’T allow yourself to be distracted by extraneous noise and activities. DO listen carefully for information that will help continue the conversation. DO give verbal signals that you are paying attention like “that sounds interesting” and “Then what happened?” and while you’re at it, DON’T exhibit negative body language like standing with arms crossed and yawning while the other person is talking. DO stand up straight…flash your best smile and appear to look interested. Remember, other folks at the social function are trying to mingle in the same way you are!
And above all — DON’T drink too much. DON’T hang out by the punch bowl or bar. DO pace yourself with alcohol because if you’re slurring your words you look silly and irresponsible not to mention you make a nuisance of yourself to the host. DO drink non-alcoholic drinks.
According to Loopnote.com when you mingle, do so with the intention of just being sociable. DON’T mingle with the intention of looking for your soul mate, looking for sex, or for clients to purchase your insurance. DO mingle for the sheer fun of meeting people. If anything else is going to happen fate and luck will play a part.
Finally, DON’T ever enter into a party or social gathering unprepared. DO spend a few minutes before an anticipated event by preparing to speak about at least three topics. And keep it light. Be creative: how about one sports topic or one movie…one involving politics and one about something respective to your local community?
Mingling really IS an art. But its one that can be learned and perfected even by the most shyest of individuals.