Asking an introvert to master the fine art of schmoozing is like asking an extrovert to gather his thoughts; it ain’t gonna happen.
Like it or not, it’s a schmoozer’s world. Do you think Attila could have attained the title “the Hun” without mastering a vicious handshake and fatal eye contact?
Schmoozing is a required skill for most jobs. Even a shepherd has to press the wool now and then. Fear not. You don’t have to be a super schmoozer to get a choice cubicle. Just pretend to schmooze. It’s easy. Follow these simple steps.
- Appear to be a good listener. Nod your head every few seconds. If you become sleepy, count the speaker’s nose hairs. If that doesn’t work think about whether they’ve had a nose job.
- Pretend to be open and genuine. Does that sound phony and shallow? Begin a job interview with, “How the hell did you ever get to be CEO?” and see where that gets you. Noting “It’s amazing what you’ve managed to accomplish” isn’t that different.
- Firm handshakes are deadly for introverts. People expect you to follow up with eye contact and small talk. Take a different approach. Squeeze the hand until you feel a bone break. Your schmoozee will either a) Be impressed with your powerful handshake and offer you a promotion; b) Pretend he/she is not injured and ask you to call an ambulance “for a friend,” thus shortening the interaction; c) Acknowledge you’ve broken a bone in his/her hand which, at the very least, changes the conversation to something more interesting than Excel spreadsheets.
- Carry someone else’s business cards with you at all times. If the encounter goes poorly it will reflect on someone else.
- Master the art of pretend conversation. Always agree with the other person no matter what they say. Respond with “I hear you,” “You don’t have to tell me,” or “You’re the boss.” Pretend conversation also frees up time for more important things like conversations with yourself.
- Names are hard to remember when your inner thoughts are racing at warp speed. Be prepared for when you forget a person’s name. For example, if you can’t remember the name of a marketing VP with bad breath, fall to your knees, cough, and mutter something about being allergic to garlic and onions.