Part Seven: Gapped Text (Page 1, 2)
A. The one thing I try to avoid is approaching two people who are in discussion. If you see two people talking together, they may be building a rapport and interruption may break that. Alternatively, they may be discussing business.
B. The easiest way to approach a group is to catch the eye of one of the participants and smile. Usually they should invite you to join them at the appropriate juncture.
C. The other advantage of this is that your companion, in introducing you, may well talk about how you’ve helped them, how great you are at what you do or praise you in another way that you would not have been able to do. This will awaken a greater interest in you from the new contact than may otherwise have been possible.
D. You can often find these people around a bar or buffet table (they’ve probably read the advice above!) or by the walls. Nervous people on their own seldom stand in the middle of a room unless they are milling around trying to pluck up the courage to approach someone. Often they will be admiring the art on the walls or the flora in the room, which gives you a nice topic with which to start a conversation.
E. When you do approach them, take care not to dive in aggressively but be empathetic to their nervous state. Ask them if they mind if you join them before introducing yourself, rather than running up asking “So, what do you do then?”
F. If you see a group of people talking, approach the group, but don’t butt in. Remember, as Susan Roane says in How to Work a Room, “There is a difference between including yourself in other people’s conversations and intruding on them.”
If their body language is ‘closed’, and they are facing each other, you should
avoid interrupting them. If they are more ‘open’ and they are standing at an angle
that leaves room for another party in the conversation, you are likely to be more
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