Trying to better make connections and take advantage of networking events or even social occasions? Knowing the difference between the direct and indirect approaches to social engagements can really help you get the most out of these opportunities, particularly if you struggle in this area.

We all know those who make the direct approach look entirely easy and appropriate at all times (and sometimes it is appropriate…but sometimes it’s not). The direct approach is just that — direct. It’s when someone walks up to a stranger out of the blue and boldly introduces themselves and starts chatting up a storm.

However, there are occasions where it just doesn’t feel comfortable to take such a head-on approach. That’s when the indirect approach is just the right thing. Instead of immediately introducing yourself to the person you’d like to meet, strike up some small talk at first. Are they looking over the buffet? Make a few comments about the food. Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, go in with a little, “By the way, my name is…”

If you’re less confident in social situations, the indirect approach can be more comfortable and relaxed, no matter where you find yourself.

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