During this time of year, our mailboxes and inboxes receive a surge of invitations to celebrate the holiday season. Some of these invites are engagements where ones where we may know very few people. These parties include the company party for your spouse or partner, your parent’s soirée for their friends or the parents of one of your kid’s newest friends.
How to initiate conversation at a party where you don’t know anyone? We are here to help with these five simple tips that are easy to do and will have you leaving the party both having a good time and making a new friend or two along the way.
ARRIVE EARLY…BUT NOT TOO EARLY
Try to arrive 15-30 minutes after a party starts. This way you’ll avoid being the first person there, but the party is small enough that you do not feel like a lonely face in a large crowd.
BRING A HOST GIFT
We believe in being a good guest. A host gift does not need to be expensive and it can be anything ranging from a Christmas ornament to a bottle of wine. It shows the host you are thoughtful and since you showed up on the early side, the host is that much more likely to introduce you around to other people since you got there before peak time.
DRESS FOR FUN
Would you walk up to anyone who doesn’t look like they want to be there? We didn’t think so. The easiest way for someone to come up to you to start a conversation at a party is to wear something that’s fun and stylish for the occasion. That doesn’t mean wear a tacky Christmas sweater, but can be wearing something like your favorite velvet or plaid sport coat, cufflinks or festive pocket square, just to name a few.
WAIT UNTIL THERE IS A LINE AT THE BAR TO GET YOUR NEXT DRINK
You are probably thinking “Say What?” Standing in line for a cocktail means you can scan the room and you have people both in front of and behind you. Forced proximity is a great way to start a conversation with someone. It’s one of the few places where you can’t help but eavesdrop to engage others when you hear something you may have in common with someone nearby…or you can start the conversation by making a quip about the long line. Then there is the best icebreaker of all: seeing someone do something outrageous and asking the person in front of or behind you “did you see that?”
ONLY USE TECHNOLOGY FOR PHOTOS AND EXCHANGING CONTACT INFORMATION
Smartphones are to us what cigarettes were to our parents and grandparents. They can be hazardous to our health. Nothing says you are disengaged at a party more than looking and checking your smartphone. Would you walk up to anyone at something that was constantly checking their smart phone? Nope, we didn’t think so. Try only take out your smartphone to exchange information or commemorate the evening by taking photos with new friends you have made all while spreading holiday cheer.