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Mingling magic during the holidays – 5 tips for party conversations

The holidays are here, and it’s time to mingle! For most people, the thought of walking into a crowded room can feel overwhelming and create anxiety – especially if you don’t know most of the people there.

Our holiday gift to you is a few simple tips we’ve learned while mingling over the years – we can thank our recruiting skills for that!

1. Start with alone time. Allow yourself to take in the first 10 minutes. Take a deep breath as you walk in, grab a drink, and let yourself settle into the room.

2. Offer to help the host. If you’re feeling left out or unsure of who to start a conversation with, connect with the host and offer to help. You’ll feel busy as you settle into the scene, and you’ll more than likely encounter others whom you can speak to comfortably.

3. Approach someone who’s alone. Smile. Introduce yourself. Use some of these conversation starters:

  • "What do you do”, "How long have you been in that role?”, "Do you enjoy it?”, "Where do you see the industry heading next year?"

  • "I’m friends with the host, Jenna. How do you know her?”

  • "What are your plans for the holidays?”, "Have you finished your shopping?”

  • "Do you have any fun vacations coming up?”, "Any places you’d recommend going?"

4. Talk about yourself. It may seem counterintuitive, but it can ease any awkwardness for you AND the person you’re talking to if you start off sharing some personal things. You can then follow up by asking a question to the other person. Here are some examples:

  • “My daughter is finishing her first semester of college. She seems to be enjoying it.”, “Do you have any kids? Are they in school?”, “Any advice for me?”

  • “I love to paddleboard! I can’t wait until the weather is warmer again so I can get back out there. Have you tried paddleboarding before? Are there other water sports you enjoy?”

5. Work the room with confidence! Don’t be afraid to infringe on a group chat and step into the circle. When a conversation gets stale, it’s okay to end it. Simply say “It was so nice meeting you! I’m sure I’ll see you around tonight and if not, have a great holiday season” or excuse yourself to use the restroom.

Try a few of these tips at your next corporate holiday get-together, and you’re sure to have an enjoyable time. Happy holidays!


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