So who likes to schmooze? I do. Really, I love to schmooze. But I like to schmooze with a purpose, a great and fabulous purpose. I´ve even been told I´m a master schmoozer. And I´m sort of proud of that. But here´s the thing: I actually am really interested in what most people are talking about when we´re schmoozing. In fact, I wouldn´t schmooze unless I really was interested. Why bother, right?
For a lot of people, there´s more to a job than reading reports, having staff meetings, and conducting personnel reviews. Often, those schmoozers, the ones who know how to work a room, also know a thing or two about bringing in more business, getting along with their colleagues, knowing when to let something go versus fighting for what you believe. But schmoozing isn´t just about working a room; it´s about getting involved in a community project and really getting to know the people around you-the other volunteers, for instance, and the people you´re trying to help.
Getting to know people out of the context of your profession can give you perspective and help loosen things up some, too. People don´t always like to be "on," having to sound smart and impressive and totally in work mode. Sometimes it´s just really nice to hang out with people who understand who your day job is like but also know how to cool off and take a break from everything business.
But schmoozing requires a long growing season. It can take a while for those contacts that you collect along the way to turn into clients for example. At the risk of sounding like a very shallow schmoozer, I´ll let you in on a little secret. Not really. It´s no secret that it´s all about the numbers. You keep networking and schmoozing and meeting people and over the years those contact add up. But remember something: don´t focus on what they can do for you. You need to constantly pay it forward.
And when it does come to stepping out into the community, for goodness sake´s make sure you get involved with something you really believe in. There´s nothing like the schmoozing no-no that has someone volunteering or getting involved in some way in the community just because it´s good for cultivating contacts. People are usually smart that way; fortunately, there´s are fewer characteristics that are as obvious as insincerity.