How To Schmooze


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Do you dread mixers or other business social events? Does your blood pressure skyrocket when you think about trying to sell your services to a complete stranger? Are you afraid that you’ll look like an idiot in public? The art of schmoozing (“definition: talking intimately and cozily”) can be scary if you have the wrong mindset.

The mistake that most people make when they go to business events is they think they need to sell themselves. This translates into a conversation like: “Hi, I’m Joe, and I sell real estate in Las Vegas. If you know anyone who’s looking for a great deal, have them call me. Here’s my card…”. The result? Nothing. No follow up, no conversation, no lasting impression. Joe chalks this up to another person who doesn’t need a place now, and goes to the next person in the room.

Instead, when you’re in a social setting, listen. What are people talking about? Why? What are they excited about? What are they selling? Instead of talking, ask questions. Asking people to talk about themselves is easy, so long as you’re a good audience. So, ask them things that are of interest to you (either personally or professionally).

Hopefully the person who you’re interviewing will at some point exhibit some social grace and ask you about yourself (if they don’t, then they’re likely not open to hear about something new anyways). Now’s your chance to start a conversation. But instead of selling yourself in one shot (thinking you only have this one opportunity), connect what you’ve been talking about with what you offer. For example, if you’re talking to someone who’s a watercolor artist, tell them about your favorite beautiful destinations in Las Vegas – or incredible artwork that you saw in a home you staged recently. By bridging your conversation from their needs to your offer, you create a smooth opportunity to talk about why you love selling real estate in Las Vegas. If you’ve been paying close attention to what the person has been saying, you have a lot of different topics to draw upon.

Even if your first attempts to schmooze don’t result in you suddenly selling your services/products, you’re still successful; you’re practicing the art of engaging a stranger into an intimate conversation. Enjoy the experience – you never know where opportunities will arise in the future.

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