The ticket to the gala cost an arm and a leg, you’re alone, the room is buzzing with new contacts and potential.
Suddenly, someone approaches you, introduces themselves, and asks you after some small talk, “Do you believe what’s happening to the children in Chicago?”
If you have no idea what they are saying, you need to read. An alpha female can finesse almost any conversation you throw at her. Below are five areas to master before your next cocktail party.
1) Current Events–Your local paper is the best bet for this. If you scan the local news or blogs you’ll get what you need to talk about the latest city council requests, the robbery on Main street this morning, or the hold up at the train station. This is all filler conversation. It’s interesting. Let’s people know how much you “care”.
2) Wine–As the glasses are passed around you should taste with some knowledge. You will mention the “finish” whether it was long or not. What region it could be from. How the wine tastes dry or sweet. Stuff like that. Talk like you know. Here’s a start:
Pick wines from countries where you imagine the locals sipping leisurely at sidewalk cafés while basking in the sun, like Spain. A Spanish fave is Albarino from the Rias Baixas region. Made to drink young, Albarino is a crisp, white wine with intense fruit, lively acidity and generally a lower level of alcohol.
It’s easier to talk about wines in terms of region–France, Spain, California, South Africa, Chile, etc., instead of a grape. Just pick a country 🙂
3) Politics–This used to be a cocktail party no-no for the sensitive, but with Obama in office, politics will be hot for the next several years. The NY Times should be your read at least a few times a few, if only for this section. Read up on what new bill was passed, what Congress is complaining about, and what the Republicans want. Yes, Republicans.
4) Industry Gossip–With all the blogs out there, you need to find one you trust and stick to it. Act like it’s the holy grail. You know before anyone else why XYZ did divorce, what movie almost never got made, who is creeping with who, and the latest pregnancies. These are best left for fashion and music industry parties. It’s light, it’s fun, and it’s dramatic. Gives lots of opportunity for exaggerated hand movements and phony jaw drops. Looks like everybody’s having fun. Always start your convo with, “I had heard that…” Never attribute it to yourself.
5)Novelties–These are odd facts and figures “only” you know. The little details about stuff nobody thinks about. It’s the kind of stuff the listener will go back and tell their friends about. For example: Coca-cola was originally green; Men get hiccups more often than women; Percentage of Americans that eat at McDonalds each day: only 7; Only food that does not spoil: honey; Only bird that can fly backwards: Hummingbird. And the list goes on. Feel free to use those!
Cocktail party conversation is supposed to be light, airy, fun, and intriguing because most of the people you are meeting will be new. Sensitive, controversial topics should be left at the door. And always have your phone handy, you can always taken an unexpected call if you’re an alphanista caught in an uncomfortable situation, like an endless conversation about hummingbirds.