Don't Be a Wallflower: When It's Time to Party . . . BE CONFIDENT; Are You Dreading the Round of Christmas Parties Including the Office Do? Are You Shy and Feel Less Confident around the Extroverts Who Love the Glitzy Social Whirl and Who'll Think Nothing of Chatting Up the Boss? Top Sante Have the Essential Guide to Get You Going

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Byline: SANDRA CHAPMAN

Dressing up's the easy bit. It's when you have to walk into a room full of people and eyes are turned your way that the palpitations start. Confidence is the name of the game and you can start by doing a bit of a recce on yourself.

Before you go to a party, make a positive identikit of yourself. Concentrate on all your good points and don't focus on any negative aspects of your looks or personality.

Wear simple, uncluttered clothing. If you feel awkward in an outfit you'll look awkward.

No matter how unsure you feel inside, when you arrive at a party adopt an attitude and posture of confidence so you project a positive image to everyone around you.

Be a good listener. Karen Williamson, editor of Top Sante says the art of being irresistible is to focus 100 per cent on others. Not only is it a great antidote to any self-consciousness you might be feeling, people find being listened to immensely flattering.

Become a small talk expert. Make sure you've read lots of newspapers in the preceding weeks, seen the latest films and memorised a few jokes. That way you'll never the stuck for things to say.

Earmark the people you want to talk to and make a beeline for them.

If you're unlucky to get stuck with the party bore, smile and say: 'it's been absolutely fascinating talking to you but you really must meet so and so, you've got so much in common.'

If the party misery starts pouring out their latest sob story, tell them a heartbreaking story of your own. …