How to Be Confident in a Roomful of Strangers

Three Methods:Getting Over Social AnxietyMingling with PeopleExpressing Confidence Through Body Language

At some point in time, we all have been in a room full of people we don't really know. Such situations can cause anxiety or fear. Being confident in such a situation may seem difficult, but there are ways you can warm up before you go to the event. At the party, you can open up to new people with icebreakers and a confident stance. While it may be hard at first, soon you will be laughing and chatting with others naturally.

Method 1
Getting Over Social Anxiety

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    Minimize negative thoughts. You may be focusing on what others are thinking about you, or you may worry that others are constantly judging you. Every time a thought like this pops up in your head, force yourself to forget it. Remind yourself quietly that people do not think that way about you and that they are just as nervous as you are.[1]
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    Breathe deeply. Deep breathing can help you relax both before and during social encounters. Sit straight and breathe deeply into your lungs to calm your nerves. If you feel anxiety surfacing, focus on your inhalations and exhalations.[2]
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    Practice talking to strangers in public. The day of the event, warm up by talking to people everywhere you go. If you order coffee, start a conversation with the barista. Ask the bus driver how they are feeling. Call a family member or old friend to have a conversation. This can help you prepare for the larger gathering.[3]
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    Visualize the social situation. Before you go to the event, try to imagine what the situation will be like. Think of what kind of conversations you might have. Practice approaching people in your mind to prepare for the situation. This can remove much of the fear around talking to strangers.[4]
    • For example, if you are going to a professional conference, you might discuss your work, presentations, the catering, or training. You may only know a few coworkers.
    • If you are going to a party, you may know several people already. You might discuss the music, recent holidays, or fun stories about mutual friends.

Method 2
Mingling with People

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    Introduce yourself. A strong introduction will make the rest of the conversation easier. That said, it can be difficult to jump straight into introducing yourself. At the beginning of the event, find someone sitting close to you. You can also find someone who looks as if they are alone or uncertain.
    • A good introduction involves eye contact, a strong handshake, and a clear statement of your name. Keep it simple. Say, “Hi, I’m Sam.”[5]
    • If you are nervous, take a deep breath before going over.
    • If you are at a party and know the host, you can ask them to introduce you to everyone else. This will ease the burden on you.[6]
    • It may be easier to approach smaller groups or individuals until you meet more people at the event. It will be less awkward for you to start talking to them, and you will have a better chance of starting a good conversation.[7]
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    Initiate conversations. You do not want to sit alone in a corner. Starting a conversation yourself will show that you are self-assured and at ease. You can ask people how they know the host, where they work, or where they’re from. These can help ease you into a natural conversation.
    • You can ask: “How do you know the Wilsons? Have you been friends for a long time?”
    • You can make comments on the atmosphere of the room, such as “Oh, do you know this song? I love it.” or “That dip is amazing. Do you know what’s in it?”
    • You can also make a situational comment based on something you notice the person is doing, wearing, or drinking. For example: “What game are you all playing?” or "What beer are you drinking?" are good conversation starters at a party.
    • If you're at a professional event, find a speaker or performer, and compliment them. For example, “You gave a great presentation. Where did you learn all of that?”[8]
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    Show interest in what others are saying. When people say something to you, you should respond eagerly and positively. Ask more questions for clarification, or share something about yourself of a similar nature. As you do so, lean in slightly. Smile and nod along to what they are saying.
    • For example, if you asked where they lived and they said on the east side of town, you can say something like “Oh, there’s a great café over there that I love. Do you know it?”
    • You want to balance listening with speaking. Make sure that the burden of the conversation isn’t on them, but don’t monopolize the conversation with your own stories.
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    Excuse yourself when the conversation fizzles. If you’re lucky, you’ll start a great conversation that lasts for a while, but if the conversation ends, don’t worry. You do not have to stand awkwardly next to someone if neither of you have anything to say. Politely excuse yourself and move on to someone else in the room.[9] You can say:
    • “Oh, excuse me. I’m going to get another drink.”
    • “It was lovely meeting you. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go thank the host now.”
    • “Good luck in the future. I’m going to duck outside for a minute.”

Method 3
Expressing Confidence Through Body Language

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    Stand straight. A confident stance can make you feel bolder even when you are nervous. [10] Open up your posture by holding your shoulders back and keeping your back straight. Don’t cross your arms or hunch your shoulders. These will close you off to other people and make you less approachable.
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    Make eye contact. Eye contact shows that you are interested and engaged with other people. When you are listening to someone, try to stay focused on their face. As you speak to a group, casually let your eyes linger on each member of the group to show that you are speaking to all of them.
    • When speaking, don't just maintain eye contact with your friends. Take risks, and look at someone you have just met.
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    Use hand gestures to emphasize your words. When people are nervous, they have a tendency to hide their hands or cross their arms. Instead, you want to show that you are animated and interested in the conversation.
    • Hold your hands out with the palms facing up. This is an open gesture that indicates honesty.
    • Sweep your hands outside of your body to make a large point, but don’t overdo it.
    • Touching your neck, hair, or face can indicate nervousness. Try to avoid it if you want to appear confident.[11]
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    Smile. Positive expressions will attract people towards you, and it will encourage them to start meaningful conversations with you.[12] It also demonstrates that you are comfortable in your surroundings. Even if you are feeling anxious or uncomfortable, try to put a small smile on your face.


  • If someone else is speaking, don't look around. Pretend to be interested in what they are saying.
  • If you forget someone’s name, it’s ok to ask again. You can say something like, “I’m so sorry, but I forgot your name.” Once they tell you their name, repeat it to yourself to help yourself remember.


  • It is possible that you may freak out and completely mess up in front of people, but don't worry; the first impression isn't the last. People will give you more than one chance.
  • Confidence may take a long time to build. It’s good to fake confidence even when you don’t have it. Soon, socializing with strangers will become easier, and you will really will be confident in a room of strangers.

Article Info

Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence