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Oct 28, 2015

When Jeanne Martinet told me she had rewritten and revised more than 50 percent of her 1992 guide, The Art of Mingling: Fun and Proven Techniques for Mastering Any Room, I had to admit I was curious. As an author myself, I think if I had that much new content to offer, I would have leaned toward an entirely new title. After all, the original Art of Mingling had already sold more than 150,000 copies. Wouldn’t her many fans support a new title over the revision of an older one?

JEANNE MARTINET podcast excerpt: "The old rule in Victorian days used to be that safe subjects were the weather and your health. That was the line. But both of these subjects now lead directly to politics. The weather leads directly to globe warming and your health to (Obamacare). I do have some techniques in 'The Art of Mingling' for defusing political situations. Don't talk politics unless you know you're not with a fanatic. You don't want to argue at a party."

On the other hand, she does seem to have focused in on how mingling has changed over the years – damn you, Facebook! – and there is probably an entirely new generation out there to be reached with content such as: • Step-by-step instructions for performing entrance maneuvers such as the Fade-In and the Flattery Entrée; • Escape techniques such as the Human Sacrifice, the Changing of the Guard, and the Cell-Out; • How to execute the Hors D’oeuvres Maneuver and perfect the Touchy Feely Mingle; • The secret to listening, avoiding the Dumb Use of Smartphones, and directions for keeping up with people after the party;

• All that and hundreds of lines tailored to every mingling situation. I’m interested in the subject of mingling because of a curious social reversal in my own household. In the early years of our marriage, my wife was always the one wanting to go to parties and socialize with folks. I, on the other hand, was shy and introverted, lacking confidence in my ability to make small talk, mingle, and fit in.

JEANNE MARTINET podcast excerpt: "At a cocktail party, if it's not an emergency, do not take out your cellphone unless you leave the group of people you're talking to. Then go somewhere else. Once one person whips out their cellphone in a group, that's the end of any organic conversation."

Over the years, our roles reversed and now I’m the outgoing one and my wife is more hesitant tomix. I’m hopefully of learning from Jeanne Martinet and sharing the tips I gain with my spouse. This is Jeanne’s second visit to Mr. Media, the first in living color. Back in 2009, she entertained us with tips from her book Life is Friends: A Complete Guide to the Lost Art of Connecting in Person.

Key interview moments:

• 6:50 Cellphone etiquette -- learn it, live it, says Jeanne Martinet;

• 15:35 How to deal with a situation in which your spouse or partner is minglephobic in social situations;

• 27:35 Martinet offers advice on steering clear of escalating political talk with fanatics at non-political parties.

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