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Thread: schmoozing

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    schmoozing

    schmooze: v. To converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.

    [mini-rant] I appreciate the importance and necessity of maintaining cordial professional relationships in the workplace. Really, I do. The world of work is a nicer place because of it. But I would rather you snarl in my face and spit on my shoes than have you put on that phony-assed smile, insincere chuckle (at your own damned jokes), and treat me like I am your long lost buddy, when only last week you stormed out of the room and called me a pointy-headed bureaucrat because you didn't get your way. I do not suffer from amnesia. Let's not pretend I do.[/rant off]

    I confess I am by nature an introvert and sometimes have difficulty making small talk, especially with strangers. That said, there are times when I just have to bite the bullet, put me head down and force myself to seem like I'm happy to talk to someone when I feel rather more like retiring to my cave. As far as others' schmoozing efforts go, I appreciate it when folks like to inquire into how my family is doing and say a bit about their own (yep, Junior's starting his first week of full time school and seems really excited...). To me this goes further towards establishing human bonds than yucking it up over the foibles of one's professional competitors or (much much worse) actually broaching the subject of politics . Even if my own political views align with theirs that's going to be uncomforrtable for me.

    How about you, are you a schmoozer by nature? What types of things do you find yourself discussing with developers, contractors, engineers, etc in the minutes before the meeting starts? Any particularly bad schmoozing tales you care to share?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I wouldn't consider myself a schmoozer, but I do have a knack for remembering what people have said to me and can connect with them when I take the time to inquire about something we discussed in some conversation sometime.

    I couple of weeks ago, I asked a job to shut down, and required that they replant 5 or 6 acres. The "silent" partner told the contractor to schooze me and make sure that they could go back to work. The grass has begun to germinate. Schmoozing can sometimes have the opposite of the desired effect with me.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am a terrible schmoozer. I wish I was better at it. I have about five minutes of small talk in me. Once that has been exhausted I want to go.

    Some people are like dogs. They want to jump all up and down when they see you. So excited and happy to be with you for as long as it lasts.

    Some people are like cats. They want you to scratch behind their ear for a minute or two and they will reciprocate, and then they want you to leave them the hell alone for a while.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    More of a schnauzer than a schmoozer.

    tend to be excellent watchdogs with a good territorial instinct, but more inclined toward barking than biting. They are often aloof with strangers until the owners of the home welcome the guest, upon which they are typically very friendly to them
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I am going to admit that I like the ritual of schmoozing for two reasons:

    1) I can do it with the best of them. I am disarming with my Chris-Farley-Skippy-Peanut-Butter big guy in a little jacket routine. Also, my big sexy hair I think is mesmerizing sometimes.

    2) I love that some (if not all) of the people involved in the pleasantries know that when the time comes they will turn those guns sideways gangster style and do what has to be done.

    I guess I like that even though we are going to be at odds sometimes, we can still come to the duel well-dressed and ready to observe the traditions. It's like a dance. A complicated dance that involves smiling falsely, calculating weaknesses, a fat guy with big hair, an smarmy guy with more money than brains and no actual dancing. It's wonderful. I probably like it more because of my time in insurance. I like to read people, and I like it more when I can tell they're reading me as well. I should probably seek therapy.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    I guess I like that even though we are going to be at odds sometimes, we can still come to the duel well-dressed and ready to observe the traditions. It's like a dance. A complicated dance that involves smiling falsely, calculating weaknesses, a fat guy with big hair, an smarmy guy with more money than brains and no actual dancing. It's wonderful. I probably like it more because of my time in insurance. I like to read people, and I like it more when I can tell they're reading me as well.
    I can't help but think of Pink Floyd's song 'Dogs'
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I can't help but think of Pink Floyd's song 'Dogs'
    I had never heard this.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  8. #8
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    This may seem a bit strange, but hear me out, it kind of relates to how you feel, Ursus. A psychologist (Ph.D.) once told me that social schmoozing is to humans what picking nits off of each other’s backs is for gorillas. The act of interacting is just as important as what is actually said. This is a helpful thought to me on those days when I’m just not coming up with many creative nuggets to share.

  9. #9
    I do it, but am not the best at it. I'll chit chat with people before and during the meeting. It helps disolve the tension and amke the experience more pleasant for them. Outside of work, I am horrible at it.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by terraplnr View post
    This may seem a bit strange, but hear me out, it kind of relates to how you feel, Ursus. A psychologist (Ph.D.) once told me that social schmoozing is to humans what picking nits off of each other’s backs is for gorillas. The act of interacting is just as important as what is actually said. This is a helpful thought to me on those days when I’m just not coming up with many creative nuggets to share.
    I want to hug you so much right now! Or pick nits off your back, but I bet you don't have any...do you?

    I buy this. It makes good sense.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  11. #11
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I am anti-schmooze. I just don't care that much or like people that much... not even enough to fake it. When I get sent to a professional event, I skip any networking activities unless absolutely required. I like my close-knit professional circle and do not feel a need to expand it. On the few committees and work groups that I am a member of that meet with folks from other agencies, I generally converse with the same few people each time. Luckily, I am not one of the actual business development representatives for my municipality as I don't think I would enjoy the schmoozing and salesman aspects of the job at all.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  12. #12
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Well,uh, I keep trying to fix my job description so that's all I do, so, uh, hope we can still be friends!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    I am a terrible schmoozer. I wish I was better at it. I have about five minutes of small talk in me. Once that has been exhausted I want to go.

    Some people are like dogs. They want to jump all up and down when they see you. So excited and happy to be with you for as long as it lasts.

    Some people are like cats. They want you to scratch behind their ear for a minute or two and they will reciprocate, and then they want you to leave them the hell alone for a while.
    So that's why my dog is neurotic... I am more like a cat.

    I'm not very good at schmoozing. At a professional event, I'll hang around the people I know and hope they introduce me to others. If I don't know anyone, I'll look for an opportunity to exchange pleasantries with the person seated next to me. Have you been to this conference before? Where are you from? blah blah blah blah... but if they don't reciprocate, well, I may as well be invisible.

  14. #14
    In my family, I was the quiet one compared to my everyone else who seemed to love to talk to everyone and my family by marriage is even more outgoing.

    I like hearing what people do, where they come from, what they think of my tie, etc. So I like schmoozing.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I'm headed off to a conference all next week, so nothing but schmoozing for me. I enjoy schmoozing if it is somehow related to something that matters or is of interest. Vapid schmoozing just to see and be seen turns me off. Still, I recognize the value of establishing social ties and forming networks to get stuff done. But please, lets at least talk about things that matter.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Did somebody say something? I'm over here in the corner looking at my phone.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    I want to hug you so much right now! Or pick nits off your back, but I bet you don't have any...do you?

    I buy this. It makes good sense.
    Yay, my first hug! I feel like schmoozing now... but have to get some work done.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    I am a terrible schmoozer. I wish I was better at it. I have about five minutes of small talk in me. Once that has been exhausted I want to go.
    This is pretty much me. I like to keep things short and to the point so I often run out of things to say fairly quick. Once that happens, the whole experience feels pretty awkward to me. It's something I want to improve but it just feels so unnatural to me. I do consider myself to be a good listener but it's just difficult if I'm the one that has to carry on the conversation.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I can't initiate schmoozing. But if someone starts schmoozing me, I can schoomze with the best of them--especially after a snoot or two of .



    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    Well,uh, I keep trying to fix my job description so that's all I do, so, uh, hope we can still be friends!
    I can vouch but I can't do anything about your job description. We schmoozed on the phone Tuesday night. Or were you flirting with me?

    Off-topic:
    That reminds me; I need to contact HR and get my new job description. (Five percent and that's all I'm saying.)
    Annoyingly insensitive

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Vapid schmoozing just to see and be seen turns me off.
    THAT is wonderful word choice. You rule.

    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    Did somebody say something? I'm over here in the corner looking at my phone.
    Get over here and help me pick nits off these people's backs. There's an app for that!

    Quote Originally posted by terraplnr View post
    Yay, my first hug! I feel like schmoozing now... but have to get some work done.
    No work! Work sucks! It's hugs you need, I tell you. Hugs and Shmoozing!

    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    Well,uh, I keep trying to fix my job description so that's all I do
    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    .
    I can vouch but I can't do anything about your job description. We schmoozed on the phone Tuesday night. Or were you flirting with me?
    You two are born schmoozers (and Directors, apparently )


    SEE!!! I can't stop schmoozing! Even in the thread that wonders if we should schmooze or not!
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  21. #21
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I'm a good schmoozers. RJ will vouch for that. It comes in handy working at a non-profit and having to always be fund raising or preserving funding.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  22. #22
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    sit up straight and pay attention ursus, and then, give me a big huggy!!!!

    schmoozing and flirting often go into the grey zone - too funny

    but yeah, the best part of what I do for a living is getting them to tell me what they got going, who they are, etc.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    schmoozing and flirting often go into the grey zone - too funny

    but yeah, the best part of what I do for a living is getting them to tell me what they got going, who they are, etc.
    It's strange, I don't get a lot of opportunity to schmooze while at work aside from with my fellow co-workers, but I actually enjoy it when I get to at conferences, seminars, etc. Maybe it's because I get so little interaction at work that I revel in it when I do get the chance. Occasionally I'll get a wild hair and set up "meet and greet" meeting with people just as a reason to get out of the office, network a little bit, and actually connect with people Crazy, I know!
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Nice part of my job - I don't have to / or in a position to schmooze and to prove I am not ready to, I don't have any business cards.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  25. #25
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    schmoozing and flirting often go into the grey zone - too funny

    but yeah, the best part of what I do for a living is getting them to tell me what they got going, who they are, etc.
    Consider yo-seff hugged.

    You know, my boss and I played a version of the Schmooze at RECON last year that I like to call "Good Cop - Bored Cop". I thought it was effective and fun.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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