How to Make People Feel Comfotable At a Social Event, Party or Buisness Event. Body Language Tips

How to Make Everyone in the Room Relax

Tips to ease awkwardness at social gatherings

 I have a request for an editor at Reader's Digest for this story. Here are my rough notes in response.
 Tips from Patti Wood MA, CSP Body Language Expert and Author of, “SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma.”


Introverts – Introverts love to have a silence after they are asked a question. In that pause they create the perfectly crafted response. You may think that the silence is awkward and try to chime in to help them, but they need and want that time. So to make an introvert comfortable if you ask them a question then pause. Research says they may need as much as eight seconds of quiet before they respond. If you do this they will feel respected and honored and very comfortable with you and you will have some very interesting and thoughtful conversations.

Also introverts may talk more slowly and at a lower volume, so try to briefly match and mirror their volume level and rate of speech to create comfort and rapport. Just like shaking hands in face to face interactions helps you feel more in synch with your conversational partner, matching voices helps us feel we are similar and eases the tension in initial conversations. .

Introduce yourself to an introvert, but leave a little bit more physical space between you as you begin the interaction. You may want to be a “close talker” but, extreme introverts need a little more space till they know you better and male introverts may be more comfortable speaking side by side rather than face to face as it is less threatening.

If you want to help and introvert at a party you can also introduce them to other people and giving them background information about the person you are introducing them to and helping them by sharing something about them. For example,

“Sam this is Paula, Paula is a geologist in Sedona and loves foreign films. Paula this is Sam, he works in Space technology and enjoys Science fiction.” Now Sam has topics he can discuss.

Match and Mirror their slower pace and silences just a bit. Their is a secret to making someone more comfortable. That is to enter their world and assume a similar state of mind. To reach out and actively feel what they are feeling. It is something we do naturally when we are truly present and engaged but sometimes the nervousness or a social event makes us self focused rather than other focused. So you may need to consciously focus your attention. By gentry  matching and mirroring the person’s behaviors -- body language, voice, words etc. You have probably heard about this technique but you may not have used it. If they lean forward you lean forward if they take a sip of their beverage you take a sip if they talk in a soft voice you briefly talk softly. You only need to do this briefly. think of it again like a handshake as a way of ritualistically engaging and making the other person feel comfortable.

Give introverts more eye contact even when they are pausing. Extroverts sometimes drop eye contact when a introvert is talking softly or pausing. A listener should give more eye contact than the speaker. Research suggests that if you want to have good rapport you should maintain eye-contact 60 to 70 percent of the time that someone is speaking to you. Females have been shown to be better at this than men and actually need more eye contact from listeners in order to feel comfortable in the conversation


Extroverts – Extroverts, especially extreme extroverts love loud overlapping conversations filled with energy. To make an introvert feel comfortable ask them questions; ask them to tell about a funny vacation or the best thing that has happened in their life recently. Then let them go for it. If you are more introverted you may wish to bring your volume and energy up to match your extrovert and make them feel like you are enjoying being with them. Extreeme Introverts speak very loud and fast and use lots of gestures, you don’t have to do that if its not you, just bring your energy up a notch.


If you are an introvert making and extrovert feel comfortable you may not be sue to giving lots of facial feedback, but they need that to feel comfortable and heard. Let your nonverbal expressions show your emotional response to the message. If they are concerned, show understanding by focusing your eye contact on them which may make your eye brows furl. If they are unhappy, frown and lower your eyes and nod your head If they are mad, close and flatten out your lip like a sealed envelope. Briefly matching their facial expressions not only shows someone that you are listening, it creates the same chemicals in your brain that body language shifts are creating in theirs and you will actually feel what they are feeling and understand them more effectively.



Your Boss – How to make your boss comfortable at a party depends a lot on the personality of your boss and your working relationship with him or her. Overall bosses want to feel that they are liked and respected and that the social gathering is going well, especially if they planned or are in charge of the event or customers and or clients are attending. To make them comfortable go up to them when they have a nice available open moment and aren’t busy with other people. Look to make sure he or she has their feet slightly apart a few inches rather than crossed, pressed together, or cowboy show of defensive stance 14 inches apart. It is easier to approach someone who is showing his or her palms rather than hidden and is smiling. Share a positive piece of information or story, such as, “Isn’t it great that our clients are talking with everyone.” “They are really enjoying themselves.” Or I just talked to Elli with our lead client and she felt that our presentation last week really helped them understand our new products.”

If you have a male boss shake hands then stand or sit side by side to create a feeling that you are on the same team and not threatening.  If you have a female boss stand or sit face to face  to show you are connected to her and give a lot of nonverbal feedback like head nods, facial expressions and, verbal “ah huhs” to let her know you are respectful and a honoring and listening.


A specific tip is to Nod Your Head You do not have to have a bobble toy head, just occasionally nod your head to show you are listening and empathetic with the speaker’s message. An added bonus of nodding your head is that it releases endorphin-like chemicals into your bloodstream to make you feel good and feel more affable about the speaker. Be aware that women nod their heads whether they agree with the speaker’s message or not. Men may think that you agree with them if you nod too much; so be careful not to give mere feedback “I’m Listening” nods if you disagree with what a man is saying.



Your Date

To make your date feel comfortable ask them ahead of time if there is something you can do to help them feel at ease. Some dates want lots of side by side  I am with him/her time some dates love to adventure out and meet people, some want to sit in a corner and watch the action. Ask them what they want.

Introduce them to each other (see introvert info.) Remember these are not your dates people, you are with your work tribe and they are an outsider. Make them feel part of the group.

The main way to make them feel comfortable is the check in with them so see how they are and what they may need and want. Your check in may mean a glance across the room or physically going to stand by their side and give them hug or touch.

If you have a comfortable relationship you may also use some signal like a squeeze they give to you to let you know they are “done” talking with someone or want to go or a touch on their back that lets them know you have their back.. Decide ahead a time on the appropriate touch you wish to have with one another to show your relationship. For example, they may expect to be by your side the whole night, or hold hands a lot if you do that normally you may know that’s a no go in your business culture.  Another comfort behavior is not to spend to much time talking laughing and smiling with someone of the opposite sex at the party while your date is by themselves. A little tip is if they look nice, tell them when you first see them and wither they are male or female tell them again some time during the event so they know they are seen and stand out from the rest of the people there or instead of appearance compliment on how they are making other people feel comfortable or are interesting or fun or dance well.

Rules of Business Introductions.

Here are the rules of business introductions. The name of the person being introduced is mentioned last, and the person to whom the introduction is made is mentioned first. The rules for who is introduced to whom depends on whether it's a business or a social introduction.

Business Introductions: In business, introductions are based on power and hierarchy. Simply, persons of lesser authority are introduced to persons of greater authority. Gender plays no role in business etiquette; nor does it affect the order of introductions.

For example, you would say, "Mr./Ms. Greater Authority, I would like to introduce Mr./Ms. Lesser Authority." However, the person holding the highest rank may not be Mr./Ms. Greater Authority. A client, for instance, always takes precedence over anyone in your organization, as does an elected official.

Someone with Asperger’s.  Each person with Asperger’s is unique so don’t make assumptions. Some will want to be involved and made a part of the group others may want to watch and observe. Ask them if they would like to talk, Ask them if they would like to introduce you to others ask them if they would like to go with you to get a drink or a dessert.  Standing side by side and or walking to a destination side by side is the most comfortable and least threatening way of interacting.

Remove Barriers.  I have noticed that at time people are uncomfortable talking with someone with Aspegers so they close down their body and or put up barriers so open up and remove barriers even if that person has his or her body closed to you. That means take away things that block the access or view of the speaker and you. The barrier used most often is the arms. Though we have over sixty different motivations for folding our arms, speakers see any arm fold as a barrier and a cue that you are not listening. In fact, of all the different body language postures, the arm fold is the most obvious indication of a lack of interest. You actually retain 30 percent less information from the speaker when you listen with your arms crossed. So unfold your arms. In addition, move the phone, books or stacks of papers on the desk that sit between the front of your body and the speaker’s view. You can even show that you are blocking a speaker’s message by holding your beverage glass in front of your upper chest.



Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at

What is the root word for Charima that defines the word.

Charisma comes from the Greek word “charis,” which means grace. Research shows that people with charisma are able to gracefully persuade us to buy from them, vote for them and (as charismatic leaders like Kennedy and Clinton have shown) mate with them. But, as stressed above, there is more to leadership than charisma.
So look for more than power, attractiveness and likeability in this election roster of presidential candidates. Seek instead credibility

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at