I HATE COMPANY MIXERS! Believe it of not I actually suck at meeting strangers and I'm even worse at meeting business strangers.
I do the standard black thing, find other black people in the room and stick with them. Can I just say that's not always the best idea because there may be a plug in the room I legit need and my lack of comfort to approach them may screw me. So to all my fellow awkward, introverted networkers here's how I handle it like a pro....sorta
1. Light Joke Ice Breakers are King
Generally, I scan the room for anybody standing alone and approach them with a "hey I'm alone your alone let's chat" light joke. Even if I can't find a lone ranger in the room I figure out where I wanna go and play up my quirkiness to join the group. I don't know why but pretending not to be awkward has made me more personable and easy to approach so before long I'm standing in one spot and the flys are coming to the honey.
2. Do the Research, Set a Goal, Then Bust the Move
You may not know everybody in the room but you know what you need. I want to learn how to program a radio station and I know there's a person in the building who does just that so I make it my goal to know them. Even at outside work mixer, I figure out what I want or need to know before I get to the event and I locate a person in the room who does that kind of work. Yes, that requires mingling so consult tip one and get moving!
3. Remember the are People
Status can be intimidating. I mean I'm not going to feel super froggy rolling up on Diddy at a party but he's a person, not just a CEO and Billionaire. You'd be surprised how down to earth the highest people up are. Even if he is a jerk pat yourself on the back for having the guts to start the conversation.
4. Take a Friend
Most time, I end up at networking events alone but taking a friend gives me more confidence. Sometimes approaching a person you've never met is easier when knowing your backup will fill in the silent moments with their own questions and comments.
5. ASK QUESTIONS
Even if it feels like a stupid question asks it. Showing interest and collecting intel makes carrying a conversation easier.