Whether it was with a boss, a friend, or a potential business connection, we’ve all gone out of of our way to blather about our work—past successes, current projects, future goals—in the hopes of feeling important or making a connection that may prove valuable down the line. If you haven’t, then you’ve at least been on the receiving end of it.
But schmoozing is an epic waste of everyone’s time. Here’s why:
First, announcing your plans to others satisfies your self identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work required to complete the task. A study by W. Mahler concluded that people who talk about their intentions, are less likely to make them happen in real life.
Sound familiar? I’ve certainly been guilty of this in the past (and, sometimes, the present—especially when it comes to going to the gym).
Second, if you have time to schmooze, then you’re probably not spending enough time doing what you should be doing.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with Wolfgang Gartner a few years back. He told me that he rarely ever went out, because he was constantly in the studio making music. The rest of us, myself included, were going out to clubs on a regular basis to schmooze in an attempt to stay relevant in the public eye. In retrospect, I realize that he had spent the bulk of his time doing what really mattered, which was mastering his craft.
You see, he knew something back then that I didn’t — that If you become the best at what you do, you don’t have to schmooze. People will flock to you.
“… if you have time to schmooze, then you’re probably not spending enough time doing what you should be doing.”
Schmoozers are especially protuberant on social networking sites. We’ve all been the victim of digital schmoozers, the people who don’t have anything special or unique to offer, but still desperately seek as many “likes” as possible on Facebook in order to create a false sense of significance.
Unfortunately, Facebook likes don’t amount to much these days. Not only is Facebook making posts increasingly more difficult to see, but likes can be bought by anyone with a little cash to spare.
Here’s a suggestion: How about spending less time on the Internet trying to accumulate likes, and more time doing things IN REAL LIFE that make you likeable?
Now, don’t confuse schmoozing and networking, because they aren’t the same thing. In my experience (especially in the entertainment business), the schmoozer makes small talk and weaves a symphony of lofty ideas that never come to fruition. The networker, on the other hand, is looking to develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships, and usually follows up down the road with a finished product.
The schmoozer is usually looking to get something from you. The networker is hoping to give you something of substance in return. There’s a huge disparity between the two. Which one would you wanna work with?
This dog-and-pony show is a lot like the world of dating. When we meet someone new, we put our best face forward and talk about the “amazing” things we’re doing, while trying to hide our imperfections and shortcomings. This never works out because in the end, it comes down to this simple fact:
“How about spending less time on the Internet trying to accumulate likes, and more time doing things IN REAL LIFE that make you likeable?
If you want to attract quality people, you must bring something palatable to the table in order to make it equally worth their while.
If you’re a person of action and your work is top notch, you’ll command the respect of your peers and they’ll take you more seriously, especially if you’re willing to forge symbiotic relationships with them. Until then, keep the chatter to a minimum and your nose to the grindstone. You’ll be glad you did—and so will everyone else.
(Written by J. Scott G.)