1. First things first: Remember that most people you're about to meet are just as uncomfortable as you are.
2. Shift your attitude before you walk into the room to focus on others and not on yourself.
4. Before you go somewhere new, know what you're getting yourself into.
5. Prepare a seven- to nine-second introduction about yourself.
6. Find a more interesting way to talk about what you do.
7. Learn these four little magic words: “And how about you?”
8. Wear something that makes you feel awesome — it'll make you more approachable.
9. Give compliments that encourage conversation.
10. Read more. Read everything!
11. When in doubt, talk about food.
12. Don't wait for people to approach you.
13. Talk to the person who isn’t talking to anyone.
14. Join groups of three or more, especially if they look like they're having fun.
15. Find an equal balance between making observations, asking questions, and revealing things about yourself.
16. When you’re standing in a circle of people, notice if someone is trying to join in — take a half-step backward to open the circle up.
17. Be nice to everyone.
18. When you're talking to someone, give them your full attention.
19. Learn to make a graceful exit from a conversation.
RoAne offers this game plan for when you're ready to mingle elsewhere:
1. Interrupt yourself, not them.
2. Smile warmly, tell them what a pleasure it's been to talk to them about [fill in the blank... whatever it was you were talking about], and that you could just monopolize their time all night.
3. Say, "But if you'll excuse me, I need to..." And then offer an excuse. Try: Catch up with my friend from college over there. Grab a bite to eat; those cookies are calling my name. Go help my husband take care of the kid. Go thank the hostess.
You may also want to offer your hand for a handshake, which most people understand to mean, "It was nice meeting you, good-bye."
"The point is to leave a conversation knowing that you made someone feel better because they've talked to you," RoAne says. Making it clear that you were paying attention, enjoyed the conversation, and are leaving for a reason (rather than because the person is boring) all help.