A bit of advice from the matchmaker on "What to do at a singles party if you're nervous."
I'll be honest. I get scared when attending networking events. Even though I love meeting people, I consider myself a people person and I do this for a living, I still get nervous!
Walking into a room of 100-200 people that I don't know makes me sweat. Especially if I'm there to meet someone, network or am expected to talk to people I get extra nervous, but- here are some tips I've learned along the way.
1- Think of the reasons why YOU are there and then why THOSE PEOPLE are here. We are all here to meet new people. We are all here to network or to find business contacts or at the Mingle Around events, to meet new friends and potential dates. Once I get this through my head I find it easier to relax.
2- Arrive early/on time. It's easier to be the one people approach, then the one doing
the approaching. So, if you arrive late- you'll have to approach groups of people who have already met. If you arrive early, those late arrivals will need to approach you.
3- Mingle at the bar, over games or while nibbling. I found it easier to strike up a conversation while ordering a drink, while at the appetizer table or while playing darts/pool etc.
4- Don't just sit there! Make it a habit to walk the room every 15 minutes. The love of your life might be on the other side of the room, but if you just sit there you'll never know it!
5- Chat it up with the host. There is always a host at events. Chat it up with her or him- ask for an introduction to that sexy single on the other side of the room if you need it!
6- Compliment someone. Everyone likes to hear an honest compliment. Don't be shy, if you love the girls shoes next to you- let her know. Maybe she'll become your wing woman, or have a brother to introduce you to!
7- It takes guts just to approach. So... swallow up your fear and do it! Walk up to someone and reach out your hand. Say hello and ask what he or she does for fun in Chicago or if they've seen a great movie lately. Keep the conversation short and sweet. Thank them, part ways and approach the next person. Don't fret- If they are interested in finding out more about you they will!
8- In the same mind set, be kind and friendly to those who approach you. If there is no mutual connection, chat for a bit and then kindly part ways. A "it's great to meet you, but I've made it a goal to meet 10 people at this event so I should get to mingling" is always an honest and easy out.
9- Have a goal in mind. I personally try to meet and get to know 8 people per event. If I'm there for 2 hours, that's a new person every 15 minutes.
10- Enjoy! Life is short- get out there and meet, mingle and have fun.