confident, work a room, eye contact, prepare


How To Be Confident in Any Room

A number of my pals knew that in December I was asked to contribute to a Men’s Health article on Confidence. I then was asked to rewrite/address the issue in light of Donald Trump. I took a very deep breath, reviewed additional research and rewrote.


The article was delayed from the March to May issues. Several friends who are subscribers received their May issue and noticed that my contribution was not included. The journalist who requested my contribution said that editors make these decisions based on “fit or format”. Not quite sure either of those are the real reasons.

Here it is for public consumption:

Whether it’s a meeting, interview, conference or party, the key to feeling confident in any situation is preparation.


Do Your Due DiligenceHow To Work Room Confidence Business Networking

Before you leave for the event, research the company or organization or host via google— or your favorite search engine. Check out youtube, twitter, websites, linkedin, instagram and facebook to “meet” people who may attend, gather information and ideas for ice-breakers and conversation. If people look familiar, it’s easier to greet them with a smile.

Be a News Fan

Read local and national news. Whether you read a print or online newspaper or content curator, know what’s going on in your profession, hobbies, community, city and the nation. That makes it easier to have conversations.

Bonus Tip: Have three items/issues to add to the conversation if there’s a lull.

Listen To Your Mother

Remember what your parents said about standing up straight with your shoulders back? They were right. From Jonathan Fast’s Body Language to Amy Cuddy’s Presence, social science research indicates that posture conveys confidence and impacts the impression we make.

Bonus Tip: Maintaining eye contact and smiling are two easy things we can do to more approachable to others who may be shy or self-identify as introverted.

Plan Your Self-Introduction

While we would like to have a wingman who introduces us around, for the most part, that doesn’t happen. What I suggest in my book and presentations, How To Work a Room®, is to have a planned, practiced 7-9 second self-introduction. It’s not an “elevator speech”. Link your self-introduction to the event as that gives people context for your attendance. When you’re prepared to introduce yourself, you’ll feel confident.

Dress For The Occasion

Dress Business Occasion Confident Work Room Networking


When you are dressed appropriately (whatever that may be), you won’t have to waste time and energy thinking about your attire. If an event calls for a tux, don’t show up in slacks and a blazer or vice-versa.

Common Bonds Contribute To Confidence

Before you go anywhere, take two minutes to think of what you have in common with the people who will be there— whether it’s a bar, a sporting event, a fund-raiser, a professional meeting or party. That makes it easier to approach people and start conversations.

It’s easy to confuse the demeanor, words and behavior of Donald Trump as that of a confident person. My best advice: DON’T! Authentically confident people are not arrogant, bombastic, argumentative or contentious. They don’t sound like know-it-alls. They not only admit mistakes but they sincerely apologize and take responsibility for their errors.
Confident people speak with people; not at them. They don’t ridicule or make fun of others. In fact, they will laugh at themselves. Most importantly, they make other people feel comfortable with them.

And so can you.

Susan RoAne is a professional speaker and the author of the Silver Anniversary edition of her classic How To Work a Room®. She shares the strategies of meeting, mingling and connecting with companies, organizations and universities.

For daily tips, follow Susan on twitter @susanroane.

About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915