Research tells us that 60% of people in America are shy when it comes to attending events with a room full of strangers! Does that make you feel better? Additionally, 75% said they don’t know what to talk about and 40% are anxious even when they know people in the room. So, if you aren’t comfortable socializing—you’re not alone. Try these proven tips that are part of my Professional Presence program.

1. Know your value. Recognize and appreciate your BRAND ATTRIBUTES that could include your talents, gifts, expertise and wonderfulness. Own them and walk into that room full of strangers knowing YOU have VALUE that you could bring to others. What are those things about you that someone might find compelling? What brand impression do you want to leave with new people in your life? How can you let others know where you shine? Don’t diminish those things that come easily for you and maybe not for others. Things like:

• You know a lot of people
• You have expertise in a subject
• You are good at getting others engaged
• You know how to make others feel comfortable
• You are a loyal friend
• You are a connector
• You have lots of resources
• You have a good sense of humor
• You ask good questions
• You stay up on the trends
• You are well read
• Others??? We’d love to know what you would add.

2. Know good questions to ask. Take away the angst of thinking you must be Teddy the Talker. Ask relevant questions, get the other person talking, and they will think you’re a great conversationalist. Being good at this is like playing tennis. Keep the conversation ball going back and forth between you. Stay present, listen to what the other person is saying and have at least three good questions handy.

Ask primarily open ended questions that start with who, what, when, where, and how. A good follow up starts with Tell me more! Once conversation begins, keep it flowing as you listen to what others say and respond accordingly. Your conversation should be well on its way.

• Who else do you know here?
• What are you enjoying most about this evening/this event?
• When did you first know that you wanted to be a ____?
• Where are you from?
• How are you connected to this event/person?
• Tell me more about that.

3. Know what questions not to ask. Steer clear of questions about:
• Health
• Politics
• Family- Today’s family unit can be anything but traditional. Don’t go there.
• Weather – This is boring unless the weather is noteworthy.
• “What do you do?” – This could be a sensitive question if someone has just lost a job or is in transition to another career. A better question to ask is, “What’s keeping you busy these days?” This allows the other person to decide what they want to share. Listen and learn what is important to them.

4. Know what are safe topics.
• Sports
• Hobbies
• Favorite food/restaurant
• Favorite vacation spot
• Entertainment/new movies/music groups/plays
• Current news events
Here are more tips!


 Fox News Contributor Valerie Sokolosky is a Master Personal Brand Strategist and pioneer in leadership presence and personal branding. A widely published author and founder of Valerie and Company, her executive coaching and training has helped companies large and small achieve their goals of increased productivity, profitability, and enhanced people skills. Find Valerie on twitter @ValSokolosky