Notice the surroundings. Is there anything unusual about the room? Are the colors particularly appealing? How is it furnished? Do they have a unique view? You can use this later in your conversations.
If you’re hungry or thirsty, make it your first priority so you can give your undivided attention to meeting people. It is extremely difficult to juggle a plate of food, a drink, and pull business cards out of your pocket. The food table is also an excellent place for casually meeting people.
If you’d like to be more comfortable at mixers, arrange to attend with someone you know well enough. This is called a mixing buddy. When you arrange to attend with a mixing buddy, it’s also a good practice to prearrange a rescue signal. It should be something simple that won’t attract attention.
Evern Williams, Vice President of a telecommunications firm in Hawaii, and I used to just wave at each other as though we hadn’t seen each other before and then we’d excuse ourselves and meet up at a safe distance from where we were.