work the room

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work the room (third-person singular simple present works the room, present participle working the room, simple past and past participle worked the room)

  1. (idiomatic, of a host, hostess, or guest) To interact enthusiastically with the attendees at an event, by moving among them, greeting them, and engaging them in conversation.
    As a campaigning politician, he really knew how to shake hands, kiss babies, and work the room.
  2. (idiomatic, of a performer or public speaker) To interact with one's audience, taking cues from its reactions and adapting one's performance or words to elicit the audience's attention and enthusiasm.
    • 1989 February 26, Alvin Klein, “Theatre: ‘Jerry's Girls,’ Revue, in East Windsor”, in New York Times, retrieved 3 July 2008:
      In show business parlance, Miss Hudson knows how to "work the room." Her comic turns are as rooted in vaudeville as her high-style wit is straight out of the smart supper club circuit.



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