I tend to be an introverted, somewhat shy person. But there are times when it’s been necessary for me to break out of my shell and meet people in various social settings. Here are some tips that I’ve been given by sales people that I’ve worked with and other folks I know. These tips have helped me.
Act positive and enthusiastic
Smile, even if it hurts. Stay upbeat and don’t let negative thoughts or expressions pop out. If you look like you’re being tortured by being there people will avoid you.
Think about how the event will help you
Speaking of plastering on smile, I hate phony attitudes, don’t you? The way to combat this negative emotion is to stay focused on the reason you’re at the event. What do you hope to gain from it? Find something positive to concentrate on, even it it’s something small. This will help you maintain a positive attitude and can get you through.
Plan Out Your Introduction
This sounds corny but it works. Have a few lines ready that you can throw out along with your name that sound natural and fit the event. Look for phrases that help people remember you and who you are.
Prepare Some Small Talk
This fits in with the previous item. Have between 3 and 5 pleasantries you can discuss with just about anyone without giving offense. These can fit the event or be general in nature. It’s good to have a couple of both. They should, of course, avoid controversial subjects like religion or politics.
I got this particular tip from a friend of mine who, in the course of his fund raising activities, runs into a lot of celebrities. On one occasion he had kitchen cabinets as one of his stock talking points and ended up spending a lot of time talking to a famous actor who’s favorite hobby was cabinet making. The actor was happy to talk to someone about something other than the movie biz and my friend ended up landing him as a significant donor.
Do you have any tips or observations you would like to add? Please feel free to leave a comment.