Some people are energized when they enter a party, maintaining a posture of confidence as they approach each conversation. They remain self-assured and emboldened as they socialize throughout the evening. However, many people do not feel this sense of excitement when they approach large gatherings. Instead, a sense of insecurity and dread settles in at the mere thought of working the room at a party or business meeting.

Whether you are someone who is comfortable with large parties or someone who gets nervous at the thought of even attending one, we are wise to keep a few things in mind that are sure to help us work a room and intentionally connect with other people.

Make others feel comfortable.
When we feel insecure, we tend to either shrink back or try to make ourselves sound impressive. Both reactions draw attention to ourselves rather than allowing another person room to be seen and known.

People enjoy a conversation when they feel like someone is genuinely excited to see them and interested in getting to know more about their story. When we trust we have something to offer, we are free to focus on drawing out the best qualities in other people, putting them at ease. The subsequent benefit of this kind of interaction is that people may or may not remember exactly what you talked about, but they will remember feeling safe and affirmed in your presence.

Be with who you are with.
There is no better feeling than feeling like you are the only person in the room when someone is talking to you. Providing this for others by maintaining eye contact and learning more about the person you are conversing with sends a message that they matter and are worthy.

The best way to work a room is to focus on the person you are already with. The rest will fall into place.

When we feel pressured to talk with particular people that we deem important and allow our eyes to dart around looking for better opportunities, we only half-listen to the person who is trying to hold our attention and make that person feel small and insignificant. The best way to work a room is to focus on the person you are already with. The rest will fall into place. Always looking to connect with someone else ensures that, ultimately, you’ll connect with no one.

How to Work a Room When You'd Rather Walk Out | DARLING | (Gillian Stevens)

Foster connections between others.
When we are tasked with working a room, we often focus on making connections with other people and don’t spend enough time connecting other people with one another. While forming connections for ourselves is important, people always appreciate when someone else is thoughtful enough to connect them with someone they may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Making connections between others shows that you are paying attention and looking to be helpful in any way you can.

Remember names.
It sounds simple and it is simple, but remembering someone’s name can be surprisingly difficult to do. However, a person’s name may be the most important detail to recall because it sends the message that you remember who they are and will continue to recall meeting them moving forward.

Remember your value. (And where it comes from.)
You may have noticed that most of these suggestions for working a room focus on making others feel important and special. And this is indeed the case.

However, the only way we will be successful in making others comfortable is if we approach a room self-assured, knowing that no matter who talks to us or what kind of connections we are able to make, our value remains the same. No conversation or connection has the power to make us more or less worthy than we already were when we entered the room.

Working a room is less intimidating when you are confident that who you are is a good thing.

Owning your own value will naturally translate to others feeling worthy in your presence, no matter who they are or what their story looks like. This is where true connection begins.

Working a room is less intimidating when you are confident that who you are is a good thing. Next time you have the opportunity to mingle at a social or business gathering, notice how what you feel and what you do changes when you are confident in yourself and can focus on bringing out the best in others. Likely, you’ll enjoy yourself much more.

Do you have an upcoming social event that you’re nervous about? Which of these suggestions can you implement?

Image via Gillian Stevens



  1. This is great advice. I am a very shy person, when I get to place that is filled with unknown people I become extremely quiet, so much that there have been times in which I was asked if I was okay. I’m just deadly afraid of what people might think of me if I say something wrong, and I walk in thinking of all the things I can mess up with. The funny thing is I’m a very chatty person with people I am familiar with but the unknown scares me and I worry too much what others think. Next time I’m in one of these situations I will make sure to put these tips into practice.

  2. These are reminders of things I’ve done in the past, that worked, but I need to be reminded of frequently to consistently do. Yes, people can be exhausting, but this formula helps. … Now my wife… that’s another story. She is amazing when working a room… she IS this article personified. Fortunately I have someone in my life that I can watch demonstrate this.

  3. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been challenging myself to get out there and socialize more, and it’s so difficult. For me, it’s also helpful to remember that most people are just as nervous as I am. I will definitely keep these in mind!

  4. Thank you Darling Magazine. This is such good advice and a good thought process to adopt if you’re shy or introverted and being around people drains you…sometimes I still get introverted and find myself unsure of how to act around a large group of people. This article gives me a mindset to remember that totally makes sense.

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