Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guy Kawasaki's "Art of Schmoozing"

Schmoozing is both a skill and a fine art. Tech guru Guy Kawasaki has posted an excellent piece called "The Art of Schmoozing" in his blog "Let the Good Times Roll" where he has tips on how to hone those skills.

"The key is to establish a relationship before you need it. And this is why I'd like to provide the art of schmoozing."

Kawasaki has 9 points; the details to each of those can be found at his blog.

    1. Understand the goal.
    2. Get out.
    3. Ask good questions, then shut up.
    4. Unveil your passions.
    5. Read voraciously.
    6. Follow up.
    7. Make it easy to get in touch.
    8. Give favors.
    9. Ask for the return of favors.
My favorites are:

#3 - "Ask good questions, then shut up." The mark of a good conversationalist is not that you can talk a lot. The mark is that you can get others to talk a lot. Thus, good schmoozers are good listeners, not good talkers. Ask softball questions like, “What do you do?” “Where are you from?” “What brings you to this event?” Then listen. Ironically, you'll be remembered as an interesting person.

#4 - "Unveil your passions." Only talking about business is boring. Good schmoozers unveil their passions after they get to know you. Great schmoozers lead off with their passions. Your passions make you an interesting person--you'll stick out because you're the only person not talking about 802.11 chipsets at the wireless conference. Personally, my passions are children, Macintosh, Breitling watches, digital photography, and hockey if you ever meet me.

#5 - "Read voraciously." In order to be a good schmoozer, you need to read voraciously--and not just the EE Times, PC Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. You need a broad base of knowledge so that you can access a vast array of information during conversations. Even if you are a pathetic passionless person, you can at least be a well-read one who can talk about a variety of topics.

#8 - "Give favors." One of my great pleasures in life is helping other people; I believe there's a big Karmic scoreboard in the sky. God is keeping track of the good that you do, and She is particularly pleased when you give favors without the expectation of return from the recipient. The scoreboard always pays back. You can also guess that I strongly believe in returning favors for people who have helped you.

#9 - "Ask for the return of favors." Good schmoozers give favors. Good schmoozers also return favors. However, great schmoozers ask for the return of favors. You may find this puzzling: Isn't it better to keep someone indebted to you? The answer is no, and this is because keeping someone indebted to you puts undue pressure on your relationship. Any decent person feels guilty and indebted. By asking for, and receiving, a return favor, you clear the decks, relieve the pressure, and set up for a whole new round of give and take. After a few rounds of give and take, you're best friends, and you have mastered the art of schmoozing.

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