For some of us, the thought of being social and having party conversations with people we might not know fills us with dread, but it doesn't have to! Here are some tips to finesse your way through your next event.
There are some people who always say the right thing to the right person at the right time. Spoiler Alert: I am not one of them! I can be awkward, not know what to say, and often have trouble knowing what to do after a conversation reaches its natural end. And this is when I'm talking to my friends -- the people I know and like!
So here are a few tips I've picked up over the years, and hopefully, they'll help you have a great party!
If you go into an event feeling insecure- you're not wearing the right outfit, don't know anybody, feel like a loser, etc. then guess what! Other people will feed off this negative energy and the only party you'll be attending tonight is your own pity party. Lame!
Sometimes this insecurity even masks itself as arrogance, which can be just as detrimental. You don’t need to let everyone know how much you love yourself or how great you are. If you’re tooting your own horn too loudly, even if it’s disguised as a “humblebrag,” you might find yourself hanging out alone.
So instead of entering a room weighed down by any insecurity baggage, shift your paradigm. Instead of thinking, "who's going to talk to me, so I don't feel alone?" think: "Who can I talk to so they feel included?".
If you are a guest at a wedding, dinner party, or luncheon, your number one priority should be to make sure the host has a good time. This perspective shift alone can make you less self-conscious and help you (and your host) have a better experience.
Carly Duvall Kidd has honed her conversation skills after years of work as a cosmetologist. After spending hours each day as a de facto counselor and BFF while styling hair, she knows the importance of good small talk! So what's her basic advice?" Make it about them"! In time you can add your own flavor to the conversation, but if you engage people in topics they care about, you'll all have a great time.
Nobody will tell you, "this conversation is over! I can't believe how boring you are". But they might start looking around the room to find some refreshments or another person to talk to. Don't be insulted or try to trap someone if you see that your social encounter has reached a natural end, but instead, try to facilitate the transition to another conversation. Go get another drink or plate of hors-d'oeuvres and ask if they'd like something, too.
Also, be conscious of your own body language. Even when you enter the room, stand up straight, shoulders back, and hold your head high. Don't come in with a slumped posture or feeling sorry for yourself.
Who would you rather talk to- the person who's scowling in the corner? Or the person who's smiling and welcoming?
One of my many weaknesses is the inability to gracefully transition from one conversation to the next. Sometimes I miss the body language cues until it's too late, and we're both trapped!
So when your conversation has wrapped up, here are a few tips to finish strong:
If you're still at a loss of what to say and what to avoid, here are a few more guidelines:
Even the most sparkling conversationalist will have awkward party conversations, and that's okay! But with a little practice, all of us- introverts and extroverts alike will improve our party conversation skills.
There's no perfect formula, and sometimes the encounters that don't go according to plan end up being the most memorable.
But when in doubt, if you switch your focus from yourself to others, you'll have some fun and meaningful party conversations.