I have a real problem in social gatherings. I’m really outgoing until I get to a big party. I seem to do better at small gatherings. I’m extremely comfortable in a one-on-one situation. Is there anything I can do to relieve this nervousness in groups?
I feel the same way in groups of people I don’t know. Once in awhile, I still end up in a corner talking to people I know rather than meeting new people. A party at my own office is a breeze. On my own territory, I know exactly what I want to gain from having the party.
The answer to your question lies in your reason for being at the party. Be clear with yourself. What is your goal? Are there people you want to meet? Is this purely networking for business, or are you networking for social reasons as well? Having a goal will help you walk into a room of mostly strangers.
My goal for a business party is usually quite simple – to make contact with two new people. After I’ve reached my goal, it’s time to relax. It’s important to me that the people I’ve met remember who I am and what I do, so when I return to my office, I send them a handwritten note with my business card.