Even if your insides are turning to mush, pull your shoulders back and stand straight. Good posture exudes confidence, but keep it natural or you run the risk of looking robotic.
A smile automatically invites a smile in return. Practice in your mirror at home until you are able to smile naturally. A forced smile is an automatic turn-off. Most people hesitate to interact with someone who resembles a Cheshire cat or a grinning psychopath.
Many people are hesitant or uncomfortable with the act of shaking hands. However, in the event someone extends a hand in greeting, it is proper to accept. A firm handshake is a sign of confidence. Firm is good. Bone crushing is not. Keep the shake simple. There is no need to pump the person's arm as if you are attempting to draw water from a pump. Practice with your spouse or close friend until you are comfortable with the gesture.
Recalling someone's name makes the person feel important and in return, prompts them to be more interested in you.
Some people seem to have a natural ability to remember names. This may be true, but chances are they have practiced a few tricks to improve their memory. Repeat the person's name when you are introduced. For example: "It is very nice to meet you, John." Use their name in conversation whenever possible without sounding forced. If appropriate, it may be helpful to exchange business cards.
Maintain eye contact
Maintaining eye contact with the person you are conversing with demonstrates interest. However, it is important to realize there is a difference between appropriate eye contact and staring a person down. Remember to blink. Feel free to occasionally glance elsewhere, but avoid scanning the room as if you are searching for a means to escape. Focus on the person, or group, you are involved with.
Avoid chemical crutches
While it may be tempting to brace yourself with a glass of wine to fortify yourself before a social gathering, this is rarely a good idea. If alcohol is served at the event, sip slowly. It is important to remain in control. You want to be remembered, but for the right reasons.
Use your STARTplanner to record the event as soon as possible. There is a simple joy in placing pen to paper and the actual act of writing may improve your memory. Add pertinent people into your contact list. Make a note of things you want to remember. As silly as it may sound, rate your performance. What were your strengths? What needs improvement? Remember, this is an ongoing process. Do not expect to become a social butterfly overnight.