Are you comfortable doing the "press the flesh" thing? When you attend workplace social functions, do you line up against the wall, frozen in position, not knowing where to begin or how to start a conversation?
Marion's Communication Tips
Marion Grobb Finkelstein offers practical, proven and powerful communication tips you can put to use in the workplace. She'll help you increase morale, confidence and productivity by changing the way you communicate. You'll have communication tools to connect with colleagues, clients, employees and bosses... fast!
SCAN THE ROOM. When you're entering the party room, give it a quick scan to check out if you see anyone you know. If so, approach them. It's easier to start conversation with someone you've already met. If you work with them, you can ask about that project they're in charge of, or what they think about the latest company initiative. Build on the areas you have in common.
ASK THIS QUESTION. Here's the perfect question to ask if you're at a party and don't recognize a single face. Walk up to someone on their own, and begin by introducing yourself. "Hi, I'm Marion". If they don't reciprocate, prompt their response with, "And you're ...?" People will fill the gap with their name. Now comes the biggest tip you'll ever get. Ready? Ask them, "So how do you know (NAME YOUR HOSTS)?" This launches a whole area of possible conversation. They know them through work. "Oh really? And what do you do for company ABC?" Or they golf together. "How's your game these days?" Or they met on a vacation, "I just love cruises. Have you ever gone on one?" Take what they say, and ask a related question. Before you know it, you're having a conversation.
LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE. When mixing and mingling, remember the objective is to meet several people, not just one. You can always return back to someone for follow-up conversation, and when you do, if there was any sort of genuine connection, it will feel like you're coming home. You don't need to cover everything in just one encounter. Be sensitive to the fact that people may be trying to extricate themselves from your conversation talons, so let go gracefully before they start to squirm. Remember, they want to mix and mingle too, so let them.
LOSE THE BOOZE. Having a drink is fine. Having a bottle is not. No news flash there. Besides the obvious safety issues of drinking and driving, imbibing to excess at a family or office party puts you in a situation where you are out of control. Without control, we lose our boundaries and social veneer. We end up saying things we regret and engage in what I call, "career-limiting opportunities". Or we can irrevocably damage family relations when we tell that jerk relative what we really think (some things are best left unsaid). Sure, have a toast. Just know your limit and whatever you do, don't cross it.
Get ready, get set, schmooze away! Enjoy the holiday season, the family, the colleagues and the parties. How you mix and mingle speaks to your social skills and ability to connect with others. Hopefully these tips will make the mingling all the easier. Happy holidays everyone!
Until next time,
Better communication, better business,better life,
OBLIVIOUS PEOPLE DRIVE ME NUTS
I burst out laughing this week when I read a post on Facebook from a friend (thanks Joanna, I owe you one). She was recounting her rather unpleasant grocery shopping experience with an oblivious person. After several attempts of politely asking him to move so she could get her cart past him to the cashier only to be completely ignored, she resorted to her military training and barked out the order in no uncertain terms. I couldn't help myself from doubling over in giggles about the scene I painted in my mind -- this prim and proper lady, this quintessential professional, this woman of decorum and class, bellowing out the command to "kindly move!" Hilarious.
It's always funny when it happens to someone else, isn't it? Oblivious people are the source of much entertainment when they affect another person's life.
Not so funny when it's us living the experience.
Think: bottom of an escalator or getting off an elevator, when the person in the front comes to an unexpected and dead stop. You and the others behind him or her are piling up in body heaps, completely unbeknownst to the person who is the cause of this mishap. They have no idea what mayhem they've unleashed and go about their blissfully unaware business.
What about how oblivious people affect our communications? Sadly, sometimes people are completely oblivious to social clues when it comes to how they communicate. I've seen this dynamic play out in social situations when a person tries to interject into a conversation and others talk right over. Oh, it's so frustrating! The excluded person feels rejected, invisible, overlooked, marginalized and possibly even embarrassed. Oblivious people: they walk the halls of our learning institutions, they hold seats in our offices and boardrooms, and some even make their way into our homes.
So what to do about them? What's the best way to handle the oblivious people in our lives?
The first plan of attack is to bring them into the moment, to raise their awareness of your presence and your needs, and (here's the tough part) to do so politely. For example, in the case of a social situation like a cocktail party or holiday gathering, suppose you see a couple people chatting. You walk over to them, thinking they'll notice your presence and invite you to join in. They don't.
Here's your plan:
Here's a caution: if you've been standing there for more than a few seconds and the clique you want to break into hasn't included you in its conversation, don't wait for the invitation -- it's probably not coming. Nine out of ten times, it's not because these people deliberately are being elitist and are intentionally snubbing you, but simply that they are blessedly oblivious. Don't waste energy being offended when likely none was intended; just take the initiative yourself. If it's met coldly, you're no worse off. Chances are however, that you introducing yourself into a conversation at a social venue and doing it in a polite and friendly way, will be well received. And if it's not, then those people are oblivious to what they're missing in meeting you, and that's their loss.
Until next time, here's to ...
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
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