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“I thought I would come over and say hello.”

It’s that time of the year when, for the social ones of us, we are in our prime! The excitement of Christmas work events provides the opportunity to create stronger connections with our colleagues. Nevertheless, even the most social of us can feel intimidated when walking into a busy work event. Out of the blue, we can feel a little lost for words, and we are not sure who to speak to first.

So... I wanted to share a recent experience that made me reflect.

I was at an event recently that included lots of regular attendees. An individual who I had met only once before came over to me and said, “I thought I would come over and say hello."

The phrase stayed with me, as I thought it was such a confident and open way to break the ice and build a connection. As the recipient, I felt somewhat special in that the person had made an intentional point of coming over to speak to me.

It made me realise that it can be great to have a few simple conversational openers to hand if you are someone who can feel a bit overwhelmed when walking into a work event.

Here are a few tips that may help you feel at ease with this part of your career and working life:

1. NORMALISE the feelings of sudden shyness that can happen to all of us. Realise that it’s good to build new strategies to help you GROW

2. Be aware of any “STORIES” that may be going on in your head; acknowledge them, but be aware that they are not helpful to you.

3. If you really dislike social events at work, GROUND yourself by focusing on what could make you feel good about this event. What can you control and zoom in on, e.g. deciding to speak to a certain number of people or having one meaningful conversation with someone you don't have the chance to speak with regularly in the office

And be reassured that being friendly and having a smile are never badly received by others :-)

If you are struggling with any aspect of your career and want to work with an executive career coach, I would love to hear from you at

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