October 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts October 2001 Current Issue
October 2001
Short Cuts:
Schmooze or lose


The room is humming with unfamiliar faces who all seem to know each other. Your palms are sweaty and your tongue is, well, refusing to cooperate. What to do? Tell yourself you're not the only one who feels uncomfortable, take a deep breath and relax, says mingling maven Susan RoAne (, whose best-selling book, How to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Savvy Socializing in Person and Online (Quill), was recently updated and re-released as a three-hour audiotape (Audio Renaissance).

The key to mingling effectively is knowing how to approach someone, what to say and when to move on. "Before entering the room, have at least three things ready in your mind, so if you get stuck, you have something to talk about," advises RoAne, who has spoken extensively on the art of networking and successful communication.

Other tips: Wear your name badge on the right lapel, come armed with business cards, do not pepper people with questions or hand out brochures, smile often, reveal a little something about yourself (but nothing too personal), and move on gracefully with a polite yet warm handshake. Above all, RoAne adds, "Don't come more than 15 minutes late to an event, because groups will already have formed, and you'll be the outsider trying to get in on an established conversation."


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