How to Mingle With People

Three Parts:Finding People to Talk ToKnowing What to Say and DoGetting the Most Out Mingling

Mingling with people you don't know very well isn't easy to do, especially if you're not into small talk - and really, who is? But if you want to get to know other people, you've got to start somewhere, and mingling in a social setting can often lead to deeper relationships.The guy you mingle with at a party could become your best friend, or the woman you introduce yourself to at a business function could help you get your next job. You'll never know if you hide out in the corner!

Part 1
Finding People to Talk To

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    Scan the room for someone you know. It's a little easier to mingle when you already have an "in," like a friend, coworker or acquaintance who can introduce you to a few other people. If you don't know anyone else at the party or event, that's totally okay. You can still mingle. But, there's nothing wrong with using your existing relationships to help you ease into a slightly awkward social setting.[1]
    • Don't make it too obvious that you're looking for people you know. You don't want to appear closed off to making new friends. In other words, try not to look like you are only looking for one person. Look around calmly and casually. Enjoy the view, but as you do this, do a quick scan around the room to see if you already know people.
    • If you see someone you know, but they're talking to someone else, wait for a bit of a lull before catching the person's eye and walking over.
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    Look for smaller groups. When you're in a room full of people you don't know very well, it may be easier to walk up to a smaller group of people than a big one. Look for groups that seem to be having friendly, casual conversations. Check out people's body language. If they're practically standing shoulder to shoulder in a huddle, they may not be open to meeting new people. If their body language is open and friendly they may have relaxed postures, with arms and legs uncrossed and no barriers between them. If they seem calm and accessible, walk up to them and introduce yourself.[2]
    • It might feel awkward, but everyone does this at parties and social gatherings. Most people will be really friendly and welcoming to you.
    • If people ignore you or somehow seem unwelcoming, you can politely excuse yourself and find another group to join.
    • Steer clear of people who seem to be having an intense one-on-one conversation. Chances are your presence could bring about an awkward silence. You can tell if they are in an intense one-on-one conversation by watching body language. If they are leaning into each other, gesturing wildly, and maintaining intense eye contact, you probably shouldn’t interrupt.[3]
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    Make yourself seem available. If you looked around the room and didn’t immediately see an opening for you to mingle into, make yourself look like you're open to meeting new people. Stand near the middle of the room, rather than hanging out near the edges. Have a pleasant look on your face that tells people you're approachable. Chances are someone will walk up and say hello so you don't have to.
    • When someone does approach you, be courteous and friendly.
    • Avoid your cell phone. When people are uncomfortable or don't know what to do, many get on their cell phones. Try to avoid this since it might look like you're trying to avoid social interaction.[4]
    • It might help to stand near a point of interest in the room - the food table, the bar, the giant ice sculpture in the middle of the room. That way, you can talk about it as a way to start a conversation.[5]
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    Help other people mingle. There are bound to be a few people at the party who don't know anyone else and feel awkward about mingling. Seek out these fellow people and introduce yourself. They'll be grateful for your kindness, and who knows, you might end up with a new friend with whom you have a lot in common.
    • If you're in a conversation and someone else walks up, include the person. Don't be standoffish.
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    Don't stay in your comfort zone for too long. When you get the chance to talk to the person you know, resist the temptation to converse with that same person the whole time. You'll miss out on getting to know other people and you may even seem unfriendly to the rest of the crowd.
    • Ask the person you know to introduce you to others and don't be shy about putting yourself out there.
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    Try talking to a few different people. When mingling at a party, it could be good to try mingling with a few different people since you never know what someone has to say. But, don't feel as though you need to talk to everyone at a party. It's still a great accomplishment if you mingle and have a good chat with just one person. Maybe next time, you’ll speak to two or three.
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    Know how to extract yourself. If you find yourself trapped in a conversation you want to get out of, you'll need to find a way to extract yourself. There are a lot of ways to do it, just be friendly and polite.[6]
    • You can disengage by excusing yourself to use the restroom or get a drink.
    • You could also say something like "Oh, Jaime just walked in! Let me introduce the two of you," so you can involve someone else in the conversation.
    • You could say, "I'd love to continue talking about this another time."

Part 2
Knowing What to Say and Do

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    Smile. It's the easiest, most expressive way to show strangers that you're a nice person. If you don't make the effort to smile, the majority of people won't risk coming up to you to talk, because you're not making it seem easy. Smiling doesn't come naturally for everyone. For many, a solemn look feels more comfortable. If you're one of those people, you'll need to get out of your comfort zone a bit. Smiling is a huge part of body language that typically sends the message you are receptive and open to people and their conversations.
    • Make sure your smile looks genuine. Smile with your whole face, including your eyes, not just your mouth. Think Julia Roberts, not jack-o-lantern.
    • Practice smiling before you go to a party. Not only will it give you an impression of how your smile looks, so you can make adjustments, but it will also put you in a good mood. This will make you more likely to want to smile.[7]
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    Introduce yourself. Start by saying "hi," then state your name. It's as simple as that and most people will respond in kind. After your introduction, follow up with a few questions to get the conversation going. Here are a few suggestions:
    • "What brings you here tonight? I'm friends with Cheryl from college."
    • "This music is fantastic, isn't it? I love this band."
    • "Are you part of the wikiHow crowd? I've heard great things about your company."
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    Make eye contact and shake hands. Your demeanor and body language are as important as what you say. Making eye contact is vital to connecting with people for the first time. Meet the other person's eyes with confidence as you extend your hand, and give a firm (but not too tight) handshake. This will get your conversation off to a great start.
    • Try not to look down or away too much, since this may make you appear disinterested.
    • If you're mingling with people you already know, use the appropriate gesture to acknowledge whatever level of intimacy you have with them. You might give someone a hug, kiss on the cheek, pat on the shoulder, and so on.
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    Assume rapport. This means that even if you just met someone for the first time, you should treat them like you're already great friends. It puts the other person at ease immediately, and often helps get the conversation past awkward silent moments. This can speed up the introduction process. Be very friendly, kind and respectful, and the other person will want to keep talking to you.
    • Try skipping over typical "getting to know you" topics and launch into something more interesting. For example, instead of asking, "what do you do?" you could ask the person's opinion on an important current event.
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    Show interest in the topic at hand. When you're entering a group discussion or making friends with someone new, it's important to express interest in what they're talking about. Even if you know absolutely nothing about it, you can ask questions and be interested in learning more.[8]
    • Don't pretend you know something about a topic when you don't. People are happy to answer questions and usually really enjoy doing it. They won't judge you for not knowing as much as they do. It would be worse to get caught in a lie.
    • Try to ask follow up questions to something they have just said. This shows you're listening and interested.
    • Try to steer the conversation toward something you have in common, so you can both contribute equally.[9]
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    Talk about yourself a little. Sharing a bit about yourself can help warm up a conversation. If you're too shy to express yourself, how will people ever get to know you? Talk about your work, your hobbies, your interests and your opinions. Share as much as other people share. Remember to stay upbeat, positive and pleasant.
    • That said, you don't want to go overboard and monopolize the conversation with details about yourself. It should be a give and take, with both people contributing and listening in equal parts.
    • Avoid complaining or being negative (especially about the party, the host, or the food), even if you aren't in a great mood. No one likes being around a negative person.
    • Definitely avoid making off-color jokes or talking about highly sensitive subjects, like illness and death. You could end up offending people.[10]
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    Be yourself. If you're genuine, there's no need to be the life of the party and wow people with your intellect. You can crack a few jokes, but don't make it your goal to be an attention-grabber. Giving people individual attention, assuming rapport, and sharing yourself with others will end up getting you much farther.
    • Treat others at the party as you'd like to be treated - with respect and kindness.

Part 3
Getting the Most Out Mingling

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    Look at everyone as an opportunity. When you walk into a room full of strangers, it can be hard to figure out how to break in. Watching people you don't know talk and laugh with each other may seem intimidating. But each person there is an individual, just like you, and they're all just trying to get to know people and have a good time.
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    Be genuinely interested. A lot of people dread having to make small talk with strangers, but there's another way to look at mingling. If you can come to the situation with a real desire to get to know people, meeting and chatting with them will suddenly seem a lot more interesting and enjoyable. Think of each party or gathering as an opportunity to meet people with all sorts of intriguing histories, interests and passions.[11]
    • Remember, everyone has something to teach you. Engaging with and connecting to other people is fun. That's why people have parties in the first place.
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    Resolve your self-consciousness. Before entering the event, prepare and remind yourself to do some of the following things:
    • Dress appropriately so you do not worry about being over or underdressed. The right clothes can boost your confidence and be a conversation starter.
    • Brush your teeth and freshen up so you do not have to worry about your breath or cowlick.
    • Try to be rested. Take a nap if the event is later in the day. It's a lot harder to mingle when you're tired.
    • Eat a meal before you go. You'll feel more energized and you'll be less likely to eat or drink too much at the party.
    • Don’t drink too much. Sometimes people think they need alcohol to loosen up. While a little can help, too much can be detrimental. Remember to take it easy and drink water between drinks.
    • Take a few deep breaths to center yourself. Remind yourself that you were invited for a reason: to mingle and have fun.
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    Exchange contact information between people you connect with. If you're lucky, there will be a few people at the social gathering you'd like to get to know better. Don't be afraid to exchange numbers so you can hang out at a later time.[12] Next time you both find yourself at the same party, you'll have someone to talk to.

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