Have you ever felt awkward in a room full of strangers? Perhaps you avoid situations where you must introduce yourself to people you don’t already know? Often, in professional settings (and sometimes throughout your educational journey) you will find yourself in an occurrence where you walk into a room of people you don’t know and you have a choice.
You can embrace the experience, knowing what behaviors work best or you can stand alone, awkwardly, hoping no one sees you while plotting an exit strategy. In case you choose to embrace the experience, which I highly recommend, here are two simple tips to help you show up with confidence and comfort, even among strangers.
Two Steps to Decrease Awkwardness:
- Body Language. Take inventory of how you look. What messages is your body communicating? Are your arms closed in front of you? Are you gripping your hands together? Are you turned towards the exit or worse, a wall, thus closing yourself off from others? It is best to literally and figuratively open yourself up.
- Stand open to others in the room. Stay off your phone.
- Face the crowd, stand near the high traffic area, ready to greet others.
- Take up physical space, do not make yourself smaller.
- At a reception? Have a small plate of food or a beverage in one hand.
- Smile. Be accountable for your own facial expressions.
Look friendly- this will increase the chance of others feeling open to you.
- Be Other-Centered. When someone approaches you, have an authentic interest in getting to know that person. Ask questions like the ones below:
- What brings you to this event/meeting, etc.?
- Is this your first time here?
- What has been your experience here so far?
- Are you here with others?
- Where did you travel from? Where do you call home?
- What is your role in your organization? How long have you held it?
- What are you hoping to get out of this event? (networking/professional development, etc.?)
Show a genuine interest in the person in front of you. Don’t look over their shoulder or at your phone during an interaction.
If you remember these two simple steps the next time you find yourself in a room full of strangers, your chances of feeling and looking comfortable and confident in your own skin will only increase. Then, you won’t be standing alone for long.
Meg Bucaro is a communication strategist and college adjunct faculty who is passionate about empowering clients to perform at their highest level by communicating with more comfort and confidence. She is especially passionate about positioning women for success by teaching them powerful communication behaviors. For more information on how to increase your credibility, likeability and influence, schedule a chat with Meg. https://megbucaro.com/contact/ or follow Meg Bucaro Communications here, https://www.linkedin.com/in/megbucaro/, https://www.instagram.com/meg_bucaro_communications/