You have all heard the phrase, “You snooze, you lose.” Well, I think that the final installment in this series of Traveling for Work needs to include one of the most important parts of being successful and enjoying your travel for work; it is learning the art of schmooze. As the common saying goes, “You snooze, you lose.” I believe that if you don’t schmooze, you lose.
The art of schmooze is one of the oldest tricks to the trade. It requires great listening skills, genuine interest, good presence in a room, and well a little lesson from one of my favorite references, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Here is an excerpt of his keypoints or “In a Nutshell”, which I believe can be used to schmooze.
Six Ways to Make People Like You:
1) Become genuinely interested in other people.
3) Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4) Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5) Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
6) Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.
Now that you have the 6 tips from a world renowned author…here are an additional 6 survival and success tips from Ms. Traveling Pants:
1) Be up on your current events. Know what is going on in the news both real news and gossip. There is always room for more Paris Hilton, A. Rod, or other stories.
2) Not all events are cocktail receptions, so if you have a chance to sit down. Sit at a table where many people already seated and close to the front of the room to make eye contact with the speaker and other VIPs that may be making introductions.
3) Always have business cards. Extending your business card will lead to getting someone else’s business card almost without asking. This goes for airplane time too. Make sure you introduce yourself to your neighbor. You don’t have to talk the entire flight, but make polite conversation and at the end of flight extend your business card. You never know who that contact from the plane knows. It is a small world.
4) If you are going to a networking cocktail function, they are particularly tough for everyone, but even a little worse for women as most dresses, pant suits, and women’s attire do not allow for pockets. At a cocktail reception, you need to eat, drink, shake hands, and pass business cards all with 2 hands, one of which is almost always holding the drink. Strategy to remember…try to get to the nearest cocktail table or even place yourself next to the bar’s edge. This is a great place to meet new people as it is the most trafficked area in the reception.
5) Before going ahead to other tasks, after leaving the event, write on the back of the card the date of the meeting and anything interesting that sticks out in your mind (kids, where he/she lives, common interests, or your need to send information about your product or something that you discussed). This will help in entering it into your outlook or other contact manager.
6) Hang out at the event. If the event is held at a hotel, make sure to spend time in the lobby checking your email instead of in your hotel room, check out the gym in the morning, and either get there early for coffee or stay late for a cocktail at the event. You know the old rule that more business gets done away from the office than in the office.
Now get out there and schmooze.
Remember if you don’t schmooze, you lose.