Your assignment is to enter a room full of people whom you barely know and talk to all of them. For some people, this comes very easy, but for others this is an extreme challenge. People are often paralyzed by a fear of rejection, awkward moments, and appearing foolish. Here are four tips to help you overcome this fear and walk away from a social event feeling proud of the connections that you have made.
- Take a deep breath and introduce yourself. Introducing yourself is one of the best ways to start up a small conversation, because this will usually be followed by easy to answer questions such as “where do you work, and what do you do?”
- Become comfortable feeling a little awkward. Many introductions begin awkwardly. Chances are that they have the same awkward feeling that you do. This is a natural feeling that probably has nothing to do with you. Roll with it in the beginning and find common ground. It is more than likely that you are both at this same location for similar reasons.
- Avoid political discussions. Every industry deals with a level of politics. However you do not know want to alienate anyone in this setting by getting involved in a political discussion. If someone makes a political statement, keep neutral and quickly change the subject.
- If you fumble, laugh at yourself. Everyone makes mistakes or does something silly or embarrassing at a social event at some point. If this happens to you, laugh at yourself. People will appreciate the confidence you are displaying by turning something embarrassing into something funny. Many times this draws peoples’ interest in a positive way.
I hope you read these tips and you find them useful. Use them in a social networking setting and you will likely find that you are building more positive connections than you were when you avoided starting conversations because of your fears of rejection.