Networking and Schmoozing Do’s and Don’ts

One of the most important aspects of making your small business grow is networking. With all the technology and innovation, human relationships are still the most important aspect of growing your business. After all, humans are those who order your products and services. Technology enables us to communicate faster and better, account for stock and orders and advertise, but you still need people to make the orders from you and no one else.

A big part of networking is schmoozing – making new connections and keeping the ones you have. Unfortunately, not all of us are born natural schmoozers. For some the idea of schmoozing in a convention or a gathering is enough to send chills down their spines. What can we do to be better communicators?

Here are some key points for the dos and don’ts of human relationships and schmoozing;

–          Be open and real. People can smell a fake miles away (unless you are a gifted con man). Don’t pretend to be something you are not, or promise things you can not deliver.

–          Don’t assume you are smarter than the other guy. You don’t know him yet. Treat him with respect and don’t BS – it destroys credibility and makes you look like an idiot.

–          When schmoozing, it’s not about you as much as it is about the other guy. Find things you have in common that you can talk about. Even if you disagree about a point – but you are both passionate about your position – this is also a way to open discussion and connect.

–          People like attention. A good schmoozer will give them what they want. Listen to what your new acquaintance has to say. Ask questions about him and really listen to the answer.

–          Be attentive. When you really listen you might find things in common to build a conversation upon.

–          Don’t go into a pitch speech right away. Get to know them first. Don’t talk at people but to them.

–          You have to be brave enough to make the first step. People find it difficult to get out of their comfort zone and engage others. Someone has to start a conversation. Let it be you.

–          Be appropriate and don’t overdo it. Mind their personal space and their time (especially true for small business owners. Time is their most important commodity).

–          Let yourself be schmoozed. Sometimes helping others first can be an opening for a successful relationship.

Be friendly, frank and listen. People love to talk about themselves. A big part of being a good schmoozer is to make the other feel as if he is the most important thing in the world, at the moment. The worst thing you can do is ask a question and then ‘check the room’ while the answer is given. Behaving like that will alienate all those who you are trying to be in connect with.


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