The best way to navigate around a tricky audience or tricky situation is to ask questions. For example …
Feeling awkward in one of those networking meetings or events? Ask questions.
Looking to fill the awkward silence on the elevator with the big boss? Ask questions.
Not sure who’s in charge of the meeting and what the expectations are? Ask questions.
Delivering a talk and not sure you’re connecting with the group? Ask questions.
Suffering with incredible nervousness at the start of a speech? Ask questions.
If it’s an audience of one or one hundred, you can and should ask questions. The larger the group, the more daunting it seems, but it’s actually not daunting at all. It’s doable and it’s really quite endearing to an audience. Try it!