Mastering the Art of Socializing at Large Expat Events
Walking into a large crowd of strangers can be intimidating. So, these are some tips for everyone who is going to attend their first big expat event on how to make your experience more relaxing and to prevent a faux pas. If you are a social butterfly you may already thrive in meet-and-greet situations. However, for the rest of us a few pointers can only help.
This might sound like too much of a cliché but it’s a fact that many people find it difficult to be themselves in a crowd of unfamiliar faces. Don’t panic! Take a deep breath and scan the crowd for someone you may know, or who you may want to meet. Speaking to people you immediately recognize usually reduces tension and creates a segue to new people they may already be speaking with.
If you do not know anyone at the event, I suggest a quick stop at the bar (if available). Even if you’re just having a glass of water, holding a drink in your hand is a non-verbal cue that you are planning to stay for a while. Taking a sip also buys you time while thinking of a response to someone’s question. Who knows? You may even meet someone at the bar willing to buy you a drink — that will be a conversation starter for sure!
Memorize a Brief Introduction
It’s always good to know what you’re first going to say to someone if given the opportunity. Prepare a brief summary about yourself (or your interests) that will give the other person an idea of who you are. Although this suggestion may seem formal for an InterNations event, it can help you put your best foot forward and facilitate conversation.
Try Not to Offend
Keep your responses as neutral as possible if you are unfamiliar with who you’re speaking to. InterNations, like the world we live in, welcomes people from all walks of life. And many do not think like you or don’t do what you find commonplace. Always be genuine, while being open to new perspectives that you may disagree with or have never considered. Try to avoid conversations about religion and politics, as these topics can make some people very uncomfortable.
Be Open to New Perspectives
While differences of opinion may lead to disagreements, they can also lead to discovery. With millions of members representing hundreds of countries, InterNations members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organization. We all can benefit and learn from each other’s experience. Be like a sponge and soak up all the knowledge you can gain, then share it with others! You will see that learning new things feels like growth… because it is!
Remember That You May Meet Again
InterNations is like a revolving door. There are some members who attend every event, some show up sparingly, while others make “one and done” appearances, never to return. The member base includes professionals of all levels and people from all walks of life. We never know when (or in which capacity) we will encounter them outside of an InterNations setting. That’s why it’s important to always treat each other with respectfully.
You came out to have a good time… or am I wrong? You could be anywhere else, but you are at an InterNations event. There’s music, food, drinks, and a great group of people ready to meet you. That sounds like a recipe for fun! So, go mingle, meet people and share wonderful experiences while making new ones!