After a week of seemingly endless cocktail events, I was inspired to share some of the cocktail etiquette tips that have helped to curve my anxiety of not only finding the perfect dress but mixing and mingling in a room full of strangers. While I am very vocal online and in small groups, unless you’re a friend or at minimal an acquaintance, my introverted side usually tries to creep out in full swing.
Recently, I attended a private cocktail event at Hotel ZaZa as a part of Houston Tidbits Front Row. Being that my friends were not able to secure their spots before this premiere access club sold out, I decided to put on my big girl panties and try my hand at mixing and mingling while on my own. I’m not going to say that I wasn’t nervous and that my anxiety wasn’t at an all time high, especially when I walked in the room and noticed that every other attendee seemed to be congregating with their groups of friends. However, as I become more comfortable in my own skin, I am slowly learning the art of socializing with a purpose. So, on my way to the bar, because it’s not a cocktail party without a fancy beverage or food item in your hand, I scoped out the room for potential conversation starters and other guests that might be open to a conversation with a stranger. Below are some tips that anyone can use to leave an impression at their next social cocktail affair:
Dress to impress and when all else fails always have an LBD you can pull out of the reserve and still make a statement. If I’m going to be the only girl in the room that came by myself, I make an effort to at least be one of the best dressed girls in the room. That means that I carefully plan and shop for the perfect outfit in advance, especially since I am a mostly online shopper and have to take shipping into consideration. You would be surprised at how often your outfit becomes your conversation piece.
Smile and make eye contact with other guests. And if you are having a hard time finding your way into conversations, a compliment usually works like a charm.
Be a good listener. Even if the conversation is drab enough to make you rather watch paint dry, be polite, and know when to excuse yourself to the ladies room or back to the bar.
Only moderately enjoy the usual unlimited food and alcohol, as the goal at most cocktail parties is not to expose your gluttiness side or become extremely inebriated. And try to only use your left hand. It’s a lot easier to introduce yourself with a handshake when your right hand is not already full.
That may mean having to alternate between food and drinks throughout the night, but it takes away the awkwardness of trying to balance multiple items while your acquaintance stands there with their hand out.
At the end of the event, be sure and thank the host and it’s not a bad idea to throw in a compliment about their attire or the event either.
Do you have any tips that work for you at social events where you may not know anyone? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.