How to succeed at mingle parties with non verbal communication
Mingle parties will put your social skills in use when getting togther to meet relatives, friends, acquaintances and strangers for a joyful event. If you suspect that you lack in those skills, this article may help as it integrates some non verbal skills, like body language, with your verbal skills, for occasions like theese. The main purpose here is to make you contribute to an overall positive atmosphere through your whole stay. Let's start with having a good look at you.
You've heard about the first impression - and that your look is a part of it. If you want to blend in you need to figure out the dressing code in advance. It may not be outspoken, like on an invitation card, so you may need to ask the host in advance for suggestions. Even if you want to stand out from the crowd you would still gain from learning a bit of what the other guests are expected to wear. That's you probably want to make a good impression looking extraordinary but not of making a bad impression looking odd. A rule of thumb here is to start from the dressing code and slightly tweak it a bit, like spicing it up with your own personality or theme of the event. Tweaking too much or completely going your own way here will set you apart from the others, making you a too strange a bird. Dressing is only a part of the appearance - haircut, piercings, accessories and personal hygien counts to this area.
Have the host in mind: Would they appreciate an early entrance? Don't count on it. Know before you go or you may cause stress and annoyance. Some hosts like early guests thou, as they bring extra hands to carry out last minutes arrangements.
Being right on time? That is safe and you may find yourself quite lonely for a while before other guests show up. If so, consider offering the host some help if seems to needed.
Late entrance could be anything from halv an hour to several hours. If dinner is scheduled, you should not be late for it. But if it is just a mingle party you may show up some time after the official starting point. Being a little may grant some extra attention when arriving: Consider if you want that attention and how to make it a good one. Being very late may require some explaining and you may find yourself left on the shore while others have already went deep into (booze-boasted) conversations.
So you've trimmed your appearance, got the timing right and are now at the doorstep. What now? Well, it depends. Customs differs between societies and groups, so if you have not got a clue of what to meet you ought to follow a safe path. In general you should try to greet as many as possible - everyone has a need to feel seen, heard and confirmed. A smile and a handshake should work in most places. Some persons may approach you for cheek-kisses or a hug - if you can stand it then go with it. Others may give you a bow or neigh - go with it. A rule of thumb here is to be attentive and adaptable: If you are unsure how to greet someone you can let him/her make the first move and, unless the cue doesn't feel too awkward, mirror it. If they do not approach you, you can still greet them with a nod and a smile.
Send good vibes
Good vibes on this social occasion would definitely be to signal that your open for socializing. You've already started up with the greetings, making contact with as many as possible. Besides that your body language will aid the cause: Eye-contact, open front (no crossing arms or covering the face in any way) while moving around the place. Lightly grabbing arms and patting backs may contribute when reconnecting with people you know and if you feel fairly comfortable with it. With strangers and people with bare arms/backs it may be a bit intrusive.
If you're not presently in any group, avoid becoming a by-stander in the corner. While it may feel comfortable to stay on the side and observe you also set yourself apart from the rest - people may consider you an outsider either you are one or not. Better to keep socializing or get busy with something related to the event like helping the host with something. Or keep out of sight for a while (a long while will send the apart-signal too): Leave the room for a while, perhaps taking a sipp of fresh air, while you muster up confidence and draw up new plans for your winning approach.
Your smartphone works as a membrane between you and others as long as you keep it visual. Especially when using social media there and then shows how you prioritize the virtual life before the real. That is counterproductive to make contact and may especially intimidate people with maner and/or age as they are tought to prioritize the person in front of them higher than others in a distance. The logic is: Those who made the effort to show up deserve more attention. Therefore you'd better keep the phone in your pocket or purse unless the conversation theme calls for it's use (and then put it away again).
It may be too intrusive to headlessly bust into others conversations - you need leads about with whom to pick up a conversations. And unless you're apparently invited into groups you should keep an eye out for non verbal cues for invitations. If you get eye contact, a smile and the body more or less turned towards you, then you may approach. If people are standing around in small groups their feet also give clues, even if the participants not even have seen you yet. Opening phrases are up to you (here we handle the silent part of the communication).
Pay attention to peoples reactions
Depending of what is said and done people will respond in body language (and words), sending you numerous of non verbal cues. These cues are your leads of what to say and do next. If you aim at getting people interested and positive then you would like to see more eyes on you, more smiles and nods but also that torsos and feet are turning towards you. Hands may point at the listeners ears - in short you would get more positive confirmation. The opposite non verbal cues would mean that you're contribution in the conversation is less positive (relative someone else's contribution, at the moment). If you're out of the loop for a couple of minutes you may as well excuse yourself and move on to other groups or persons, rather than tagging along like a fifth wheel.
Giving the little extra
You may be given the opportunity to show off, to make some kind of performance. It can really add positive atmosphere into the room. If you feel safe enough about it and know how to land it: Take the leap. Otherwise lead the attention over to someone else (who can handle it) - people will buy even a white lie, as most of them know the discomfort of being pushed to perform when they are not ready for.
Stay long but leave in time. Stay as long as you are on the positive side, contributing to the overall joy. If you feel tiredness (and/or the effect of a substance of some kind) setting in strong you should make for the exit. But if you still feeling strong and the hour is getting late you should keep an eye on the host: Either they will show tiredness or make explicit signals like serving coffee (meaning : Time to sober up and leave). If there still is a handful of guests left (up to about 12) you ought to wave them all of but if they are more than that you can set for the host and a few chosen ones and then make an discrete exit.
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