Mingling or working a room - where meeting and greeting people you may or may not know in a business or personal situation - takes thoughtful preparation.
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Below are some strategies:
- Embrace a positive attitude. Enthusiasm and a smile go a long way toward making any event more pleasurable. It is extremely diffcult to mask a negative attitude - even if you plaster on a smile, it will show in your eyes and the inflection in your voice.
- Focus on the benefits of the event. Know what you stand to gain from leaving your home or office and working a room. These can include meeting new people, exchanging conversation and bringing back some business cards to expand your network of contacts.
- Plan your self-introduction. The best are energetic and pithy - no more than 10 seconds long. They include your name and a tag line to tell others who you are, why they should remember you and something to spark the conversation. Your self-introduction should vary depending on the circumstances.
Check your business cards. Bring enough so you don't have to write your name on a used napkin. If you want to give your card to someone but they haven't asked for it, ask for theirs first. Most people will respond in kind.
- Don't be afraid to use a little humor.
- During the self-introduction, speak clearly and look people in the eye.
Prepare your small talk. Prepare at least three pieces of small talk. It could be a statement, a question or a pleasant self-revelation such as a local sports team, the organization for which you are meeting, or the weather.
- Do not pass out cards indiscriminately. Cards should be exchanged following a conversation during which rapport has been established. Ask yourself first, before handing out your card, if you want to maintain contact with this person.
Remember eye contact and smile. A roving eye gives the impression of an insincere, hand-pumping Mr. Brown-noser. Too much eye contact may constitute glaring and could be considered rude.
Practice the handshake. A handshake is the business greeting in America. Make sure that yours does not become too limp, a knuckle breaker, or a finger squeeze.
- Remember the old advice about avoiding controversial subjects like religion and politics is still true.