The art of schmoozing is the acts performed that can make you well-liked by important people, and it can be a little tricky to maneuver correctly. There are some balancing acts that have to happen when you schmooze, and going too far with it can quickly backfire. There are several different aspects that you can use to sway the opinion of important people; schmoozing is a multi-faceted skill set.
Compliments are a powerful way to influence someone’s opinion on you. It makes for positive feelings, and creates a general good image of you with the person you are talking with. Think back to the last time someone gave you a genuine compliment; how do you think about that person? It is quite likely that their compliment has managed to color your opinion.
You can use this to your advantage. By playing on human nature, you can work with the natural desire to be accepted and praised. However, with all this power, you do need to be cautious. There are some people that are not receptive to this, and there are delivery methods that can cause some undesired results.
What Makes a Good Compliment?
The quality of your compliment matters. You should be thoughtful and meaningful when you complement someone; simply stating that they are “good” is generally not going to have a major an impact. However, if you specify exactly what they are good at, you will get much better results. Generic compliments may be easier to deliver, but they are going to have much less of a positive outcome.
Sincerity is also very important. People who are going to be influential, and those are the people you want to schmooze to, are likely to be very good at reading people. You do not get to high power positions by being easily fooled. They will likely be able to tell if you are just complimenting for the sake of complimenting. You will want to ensure that you truly believe what you are saying. Stick to the truth, and your compliments will be much better received.
Things to Compliment On
It is more likely that your compliment will be useful, if you stick to topics that are at hand. When you are trying to gain favor with a business leader, compliments on their business skills are going to be worthwhile. You can mention that you liked an idea that they discussed, and remember to be specific. This shows that you are listening to them, and shows that you see eye to eye on business issues.
Sometimes, a person just looks very well put together, and you may want to comment on it in a positive way. Comments on a person’s appearance can be a great thing; it is very flattering to be told that your appearance is pleasing. However, there are some things you need to be careful when it comes to mentioning looks. If you are looking to complement on someone’s style, it is best to pick out a specific piece that you like. For example, “you look well today,” is very basic and does not seem as thoughtful as a compliment should be; “that shirt is a great color on you,” is significantly more specific, and less likely to be misunderstood.
There are some different methods to deliver a compliment, and you will need to know your audience to pick the best one. Each of these methods have a different feel to them, and you can use them all to improve your communications. Here are the top three ways to deliver a compliment:
• Directly: Simply state what you are impressed by; “I liked your thoughts on our plan forward.”
• With a question: Stating a compliment in a question allows them to respond in a meaningful way, which builds repertoire between you and them; “how did you manage to close that deal so quick?”
• With a counter thought: Providing an alternate solution to a problem can be a great conversation starter, and including a complement can make it more meaningful; “I liked the slogan you pitched, but maybe this alternate wording would work instead.”
No matter how you choose to deliver your compliment, remember that it needs to be sincere. Trying to fake this will be noticed, and it will not be held in a positive light.
Knowing Your Mark
The most important part of successful schmoozing, in any form, is to know who you are trying to schmooze. This knowledge helps you find the best way to form a positive image in their mind. Some people are very easily swayed with compliments, and they should be complimented often.
Some people are more untrusting of compliments. This usually happens if they have received many fake complements, all with the intent of swaying their opinion. In these cases, you can still use the methods of complimenting to gain favor, but you do need to be more cautious. Gauge your audience, and their reception to different complements; you will find there is a way to schmooze pretty much any one.