Methods to work a room
It’s awkward to feel hindered by the anxiety of starting a conversation, keeping it interesting, and deciding when to end. It would be nice if we had any idea how to work a room.
I interviewed experts about the subject hoping to improve next time. A hypnotherapist, Ali Binazir, author of “The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible”, created a plan consisting of 8 steps. He’s a product of Harvard and University of California where he got his medical degree, studied Eastern philosophy and worked as a consultant for McKinsey& Co. His pieces of advice are strange because it includes talking to potted plants. If it can improve my skills, I’m willing to do it.
Some suggestions are easy like arriving early. It’s called “host physiology” where you adopt attitudes of the next one to arrive than joining a room with over 200 guests already indulged in conversations.
Try wearing something that can make for a conversation starter. An example is Binazir’s white hat. He also proposed that you be ready to talk about current events. He urges meditation with closed-eyes while deep-breathing ten times. This is called getting into “a powerful state”.
Another suggestion is being friendly with the environment. This is the part where you talk to the plant or a chair to feel more at home. Place yourself where you are framed by any doorway to look more inviting.
Binazir begins on the crowd’s periphery all the way in. You may stay at the bar, or near restrooms where there’s a line. Use “two-hit technique” wherein you talk to someone, leave for a moment and then get back to them. This makes you feel like you know them.
Try mirroring by following the movement of the person and the “million-dollar handshake”: using your free hand, cover the other person’s hands for three seconds.
Impart an unforgettable story that happened in your life. Share contact details before the conversation ends and take a snapshot you can attach to an e-mail you’ll send in the future.
Some professionals don’t agree with all of Binazir’s suggestions. Don Crowther says to wait for the conversation to end before sharing your contact info. Marcie Schorr Hirsh insists that it’s impractical to even study this. Nicholas Boothman thinks that it’s better to start working in the middle of the room than browsing the area. Your goal in social events is to connect with few people than flutter as a social butterfly.