“I’ve had a wonderful evening,” Groucho Marx once said after a very dull party, “but this wasn’t it.”

Are you comfortable walking into a room full of people you don’t know? Breaking into a new circle, club or group isn’t always easy but here are a few ideas you might want to explore.
When you first walk into the room, try to relax and smile with your eyes as well as your mouth. Walk tall and keep smiling. People are attracted to people who smile.

Simplistic as it may sound, shake peoples’ hands when you’re introduced to them. Shaking someone’s hand creates energy. The perfect handshake is probably one which matches the strength of the person whose hand you’re shaking.

Listen intently when you meet someone for the first time - remember their name. Burn it into your memory. If you don’t catch it first time round, ask them again what their name is. They’ll remember yours if you’ve taken the trouble to remember theirs.

Ensure that you maintain eye contact. The eyes are windows to the heart. When you maintain eye contact, you let them know that you’re listening. And when you’re speaking, they have an opportunity to see sincerity in your eyes.

Mirroring someone is an effective method of letting them feel that they have something in common with you. If they’re sitting down with their legs crossed, do likewise. Don’t remain standing. Or, for example, if they gesture with their hands when they talk, try doing the same.

Mirroring is a good way of connecting with someone at a subliminal level.
Finally, ask open questions to kick-start the conversation. When did you start coming here? What attracted you to this group? Who introduced you? How long have you known them? What do you do when you’re not coming here....?

And after all that: if they don’t make you feel welcome, it’s more their fault than it is yours!

Author's Bio: 

Thomas Chalmers is an executive coach. He works with executives, politicians, and entrepreneurs.

Michael Imani, Ph.D. is a mind/body expert. He also is a facilitator in executive coaching at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.