Monday, November 24, 2014

Getting Noticed: How to Stand out From the Crowd

Being invited to a party can be either a source of delight over the excitement of upcoming fun, or it can be a source of dread at having to get through yet another social event where no one is going to talk to you. Some people have absolutely no problems making friends wherever they go, while others are painfully shy or even simply a little social awkward and have trouble fitting in.

Even when you're not the life of the party (which, by the way, can be exhausting, so be careful what you wish for), you can still have a good time mingling with others and participating in conversations without sticking out like a sore thumb. Below are some tips on how to not be relegated to the background at social gatherings.

These tips are based on using your appearance as a conversation starter, however, staying abreast of current events, measuring your comments (no one likes a know-it-all), and appropriately complimenting others (no one likes a suck up), you can also make a memorable impression and stand out at functions.

Originally published on Helium in July of 2009.

How to get Noticed at a Party

It's the party of the century and you're invited! You have been watching the clock at work since the midmorning coffee break and when quitting time rolls around you are outta there! You race home after work, grab a quick bite, shower, don your favorite outfit and head back out the door with your spirits high. You have been looking forward to this all day and as you excitedly arrive at your destination you are more than a little pleased with yourself for not being too early while not being "fashionably late" either. You present your invitation at the door and enter the gathering ready for a fabulous evening of cocktails and conversation.
Instead, you spend your time admiring the beautiful floral arrangements and interesting artwork while people watching from the corner of the room. The place is packed with people excitedly chattering away with each other and yet none of them seems to be interested in talking to you. So much for your fun and fabulous evening at the party of the century.
The first step in getting noticed at a party, or anyplace else for that matter, is to make your self stand out. Even though we have been told repeatedly throughout childhood and even into adulthood that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover that is exactly what happens. The first thing people notice about someone who enters a room is what they physically see before them, so a huge part of making a good impression is appearance.
If people are somehow put off by the look of you, or worse it they don't even notice you, no one is going to approach or want to be approached by you. The key is to have a neat, clean appearance and to make an entrance. What to wear will depend largely on the type of event you are attending and how casual or formal it is so it is important that your clothing is first appropriate to the occasion. If there is a theme for the event, be sure to consider this when choosing your outfit or the accessories for it.
At a black and white ball for instance, a little flash of color in the form of a flower in the hair or on the lapel could draw attention to you and even spark conversation. Jewelry, pocket squares, gloves, even a wrap (such as a pashmina) or fashionable hat (where appropriate) can serve to add a subtle bit of spice to your outfit.
The next thing that will make you stand out even before you open your mouth is posture. Slouching is a sign of low self esteem and someone who is careless about details which is social suicide whether at a professional function where you are hoping to network or at a less formal gathering where you are hoping to find a date for next weekend. Poise, confidence and good posture go a long way in getting you noticed even when you aren't trying to stand out.
The third thing that will help you stand out is your conversation. It isn't just your words though, it is your mannerisms as well so be polite and respectful and save the jokes for another occasion. Charm goes a long way in getting people to warm up to you, as does wit, just remember to be subtle and keep things simple. When someone likes what you have to say they will be more apt to introduce you to others.
Everyone's familiar with the saying "You never get a second chance to make a first impression," and while it may be a cliche it still rings true so always, always, always put your best foot forward at all times.

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