Schmoozing is an excellent way to get people to like you and to grow your professional and social network. Contrary to popular belief, schmoozing isn’t all about complimenting a person. To schmooze effectively, you’ll need to come across as genuine and likable. If you present yourself well, concentrate on positive small talk, and then build rapport with people, you can schmooze your way to the top.
EditMaking Small Talk
- Introduce yourself to people. Pay attention to the people who are at the event and introduce yourself to those who make eye contact. Don’t limit the conversation to people who you know. Instead, try to go out of your existing network and introduce yourself to new people. If you’re nervous and don’t want to introduce yourself, you can ask the host to introduce you to people who you want to talk to.
- You can introduce yourself by saying “Hey, my name’s Joe, I work over in accounting. How are you today?”
- You can also say “Hi, my name’s Stephanie. I saw your presentation on nuclear thermodynamics, and I thought that was awesome.”
- Or, “Hey, I’m Jake. I heard about the prank that you guys pulled in accounting yesterday, and I couldn’t stop laughing about it.”
- Stay up on current events. Read magazines and blogs, and watch new documentaries to stay up on the latest trends. Staying up on trends will give you something to talk about outside of work and your social life. Having a couple of subjects that you’re knowledgeable about will make you seem more interesting to the people you’re schmoozing with.
- Avoid talking about religion, politics, or race. Unless you are in a particular setting, like a church or political fundraising event, you shouldn’t bring up these topics. Often, people have strong feelings and opinions about these themes, and it’s easy to offend someone. Steer clear from these conversations and stay neutral if someone brings it up.
- For instance, if someone says, “What do you think of the new president?” you can say something like “I don’t really follow politics.”
- Be genuine. The goal of schmoozing may be to build your network, but it shouldn’t be obvious. People don’t want to associate with those who they think are overly ambitious or goal-oriented. Avoid talking solely about work, especially if you’re in a social setting with your coworkers. Stick to more interesting subjects so that people don’t think that you’re fake.
- Be polite but end bad or pointless conversations. If you run into someone who you don’t want to talk to anymore, you shouldn’t be rude. Smile, nod, and give short responses until they run out of small talk. Wait around five minutes, then excuse yourself politely.
- When you’re leaving the conversation you can say something like “Well, it was really nice meeting you. I think I’m going to find my friends and grab a drink, thanks.”
- You can also say “Ah, I have to use the restroom. It was nice talking to you.”
- Look for similarities with you and the person you’re talking to. The more similar a person thinks they are to you, the more engaged they will be in the conversation. Try to draw parallels between the person you’re talking to.
- For example, if someone says “This customer blamed me because their order didn’t arrive, but it was the shipping company’s fault,” you can say something like, “Yeah, customers sometimes complain about things outside of my control too.”
- Listen and ask questions. You don’t want to talk too much when you’re schmoozing. Make sure that you give the person you’re talking to enough space in the conversation to say things. A great way to do this is by asking questions that require a response. Think of the conversation as a series of opportunities to expand your relationship and don’t obsess over saying the wrong thing.
- For example, if someone is talking about a recent baseball game, you can say, “What do you think of the Mets performance so far this season?”
- If you’re talking about a movie you’ve both seen recently you could say something like, “Yeah, Eli Roth’s directing has really evolved over the last ten years. What’s your favorite movie of his?”
- Give them genuine compliments. Don’t just come out and say something like “You’re the best!” Instead, frame your compliment as a question or statement. For example, you could say something like “How did you keep such a cool head yesterday with that customer?” or “I wasn’t sure about your techniques at first, but now I see it’s really the best way to do it.”
- You can also compliment them by saying something like “I don’t want to embarrass you, but your explanation of the classical dynamics of spinning tops is one of the best I’ve ever heard.”
- Wear clean, pressed clothes. Wear clothes that make you feel confident. This will vary depending on the situation you’re in. If you’re in a formal setting, you should dress up in a suit or a formal dress and nice shoes. If you’re in a more casual environment, wear whatever clothes make you feel confident and comfortable. Regardless of the setting, clean, wrinkle-free clothing will always make a good impression.
- Have good hygiene. Make sure that you groom your hair and bathe before you go to a networking or social event. If you have bad breath or you smell bad, people won’t want to be around you. Brush your teeth, chew gum, or eat breath mints to prevent bad breath. You can wear underarm deodorant or perfume to smell good.
- Read about the event before you arrive. Make sure that you know what the event is and who will be there. This will give you an idea of the type of conversations you might be having and the people you should target. You’ll most likely want to talk to people in your field of work or study, or people that can help advance your career. If you can get a hold of a guest list, you should do some research on the web on the people who will be there.
- Exude self-confidence, but don’t come off as arrogant. Don’t put others down, ridicule others, or talk about how you’re better than others. This comes off as arrogant and will give off a bad impression. Instead, act like you’re sure of yourself and your abilities but don’t talk about it constantly.
- Even though you think the other person agrees with you, don’t complain too much. You can come off as unfriendly, which is what you don’t want.