How often have you been at a company meeting or an industry conference where you felt somewhat out of place? You didn’t have your normal circle of office buddies or industry friends and small talk wasn’t in your bag of tricks. Well, Susan Blond offers several tips in her article, Work the Room: How to Be the Star at a Networking Event that will help you become the winner at any event. Here is just one piece of advice from Susan about showing interest: This sounds simple, but it can be easy to forget when you’re nervous. While you’re talking to someone, look into their eyes (not around the room), smile often, and laugh at their jokes. People love to get cues that what they’re saying is funny and interesting, and by genuinely showing interest, you’ll put them at ease. Another great way to show your interest is to ask thoughtful follow-up questions. For example, if someone tells you he just got back from Mexico, don’t just say “that’s great!” or “lucky you!” Ask him where he stayed, what types of activities he did, or about his most memorable moment. Just click on the article and read how to add new friends through improving your social techniques at networking events. I’m sure her advice will make you at ease in opening and closing conversations with the friends you just haven’t met- yet.