Let's face it, no one is really comfortable when it comes to formal gatherings. Whether it's trying to impress important people or not looking foolish in front of co-workers, these types of events tend to make people very nervous.
But once you engage a group in conversation, how do you leave it?
Remember, it's not about starting out the conversation with the decision-makers of the world - it's all about leaving it without making it seem awkward or appearing like you're disinterested in what they have to say.
Let's first start out by setting up one of these situations.
You're attending an important work function with lots of suits and lots of great food.
I think of it as speed dating. It's your job to meet as many people as possible - while impressing all of them.
So who do you go up to first? Your eyes wander around the room, scanning for a group that you know will at least listen to your stories. After you find that group (for some of you, that might take awhile), you walk over and shake hands.
You exchange small talk and get your point across within the first few minutes. Just make sure you're hitting the headlines within the first 3 minutes of any conversation in these situations. No one wants to hear stories about your kids' little league games, ok?
Now here comes the hard part - LEAVING the group conversation! What do you do? Do you get a drink? Do you say you need to use the bathroom? Or do you just walk away?
Quite frankly, there's no easy answer. But there's only one correct one. If you can count to 5 and no one in the group says a word, it's time to move on. It's just that simple. You don't want to talk to them and they don't want to talk to you. Just say, "Nice meeting you" and you're home free!
So the next time you're at that formal party, feel free to use this important tip. And think of me as you're counting to 5. Trust me, it works!