1) Arrive early
This gives you a chance to get to know the other ‘early-comers’ in a relaxed,
and less hectic atmosphere. As other people begin to arrive, you will have the
added advantage of being able to meet more and more people.
2) Stand at the bar
Standing at the bar is the most natural way to begin chatting: ‘Gosh, how long have you been waiting here?’‘It’s so busy in here; I’d better bulk order!’ ‘Ooo, what are you drinking? I might
have to get one of those instead!’.
3) Speak to as many people as possible.
If 95%* of people are happy to speak with you, and 5% aren’t, the higher your sample size, the more positive interactions you will have. *This is the number that I have found in my research.
4) Use open body language
Face the crowd; don’t hide behind pillars or extremely tall friends. Fringe out of your face, don’t cross your arms and tuck the chunky coat away. Similarly, look for people with open body language, who are smiling, have their arms uncrossed, shoulders facing out into the room and eyes looking around. They will be easiest to engage in conversation.
5) Change your attitude
Remember this and your self-consciousness will melt away: it’s not about you,
it’s about them. Instead of ‘I hope they like me’, be totally present in that
conversation – and have no expectations. You aren’t running for office, you don’t have to ‘get people to like you’. Just have fun!