For those who make their living behind a computer screen(s), parties can bring an added level of anxiety about professional etiquette and proper networking techniques.
Udemy course instructor, Alexa Fischer, is an expert at teaching individuals to overcome internal barriers and shares her best practices for work parties.
1. Be positive: You can prepare for a cocktail party before you even walk in. Your energy is contagious so if you're nervous people feel that. You want to be positive, upbeat, and bring that energy with you into the party.
2. Scan the room: Right away you're going to be presented with a decision. Are you going to make a beeline for the bar? Hit the dance floor? Or take a moment to scan the room and figure out who you want to talk to? Take notice of who you're naturally drawn to talking to first by scanning the room, then give yourself the opportunity to ease into the party.
3. Find common ground: Now that you've figured out who you want to talk to, you have to actually start the conversation. By using open-ended icebreakers like "What brings you here tonight?" or "How do you know the host?" you'll immediately find common ground, which is a conversation firestarter. Avoid starting off with negative comments like "Oh, I hate parties like this, don't you?" Remember, people are naturally drawn to positivity.
4. Avoid Awkward Silence: It happens to the best of us, but it's the most common conversation killer. Combat awkward silence by complimenting something the person you're talking to is wearing, or introducing someone new into the conversation. They probably have something great to bring to the mix!
5. Exit Strategy: Inevitably the time will come when you want to leave a conversation. If you feel like fleeing, don't worry, you're allowed to exit. All you have to say is, "Great to meet you, enjoy the rest of your evening!" and you'll have successfully excited the conversation in a polite way. Give yourself permission to part ways!