URL: https://westernu.libguides.com/conferencetips

Conference Tips: Social Mixers


About Social Mixers

Throughout a conference, there may be social events set for the evening after the day's sessions. These often take the form of trivia nights, dinner out with other conference-goers, or an all-conference reception.

How to Do Small Talk

  • Keep it simple: "What brings you to the conference?" "How are you today?" "Is there something you've recently read in professional literature that you think is interesting?"
  • If walking up to someone isn't comfortable for you, take advantage of being in certain situations such as waiting in line for food or to get into a meeting venue or waiting for a speaker to begin their talk.
  • Be yourself! You don't have to put on an act when talking to people.
  • Avoid personal topics (marital status, salary earnings, etc.)
  • Be polite!

How to Leave a Conversation Gracefully

Make a friendly excuse that seems convincing.

  • "I actually need to get to [fill in event here]. It was nice to meet you!"
  • "I need to get ready for [event]."
  • "I just spotted my colleague/a friend, I've been looking for them."

About Refreshments at Social Mixers

When you are at social mixers, it is likely that alcohol will be served. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy yourself responsibly and safely:

  • Know what your limit is! If you get carried away with drinking, you can make yourself sick or engage in unprofessional behavior. Remember, you are representing yourself AND Western University of Health Sciences.
  • If people are trying to make you drink more or anything at all (if you've decided not to drink), stick to your guns! Politely and firmly decline their offer of alcohol.
    • If people are being pushy with you about drinking, you can use these excuses:
      • "I've had enough to drink, thank you."
      • "I have an early morning tomorrow."
      • "I can't have any with my medication."
      • "No, thanks, I don't want any."

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