Not really directly SEO related, but I have been going to lots of conference parties of late, and it is quite interesting to view the social interactions that occur. Some people are really good at schmoozing, while others are average, and some linger in a corner hoping nobody will talk to them. Friends = recommendations = links. I still wouldn't describe myself as being a great schmoozer, but I know lots of people who are, and I think the most common traits of people who are successful at talking to and meeting new people are:

  • they are confident and comfortable with their identity and state of being

  • they are not afraid of being rejected or trying new things
  • they make it easy for others to laugh, and also laugh at themselves
  • they make eye contact and mirror body language
  • they tend to largely focus conversations on the interests of the people they are talking to
  • they can anticipate conversations, but do not skip ahead of those they are around
  • they tend to make the people they are talking to feel comfortable with their identity, and important for being a great person or doing a great job at what they do

The more you know about a person than what an average person off the street would know about them the more likely they are to find you interesting.

I think the feeling of love is when other people feel more complete, happy, or as a better person when they are around you. If you can do things which create those sorts of feelings in other people then they will reciprocate, and (link) love is all you need. :)

For consultants SEO is probably more about sociology, psychology, and healthy social relationships than algorithms.

What good schmoozer traits did I miss?

Published: August 8, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


August 9, 2006 - 7:34pm

When you talk about mirroring body language and talking about the interests of the person they are talking to... it all sounds like the tips from the book:
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie

August 10, 2006 - 1:46am

Let people talk about their kids.

It works. Never talk about yourself too much and avoid the drunks.

A lifetime before search I was a professional night club DJ touring around my native England and Scandinavia.

Try to be natural and mix with nice people it all comes back to you :)


Aaron cool pic of you on Jim Boykins Blog - John Lydon fan with that glare?

August 10, 2006 - 7:03pm

Did you hear about the threats that Citigroup's Sean Smith made at the recent SEO conference? What is Sean trying to cover up? Did anyone tape record the session?

August 11, 2006 - 10:52pm

Hey Aaron! It was great to "schmooze" with you at SearchBash for the couple minutes I was able to talk to you.

I would tell the "corner lingerers" that there really isn't a reason to be bashful. I think that the SEO folk, in general, are super-easy to approach and are eager to talk shop or just "shoot the sh*t."

Just look at the SEO forum and blog communities... It's obvious that we like to assemble and share information!

Oren G
August 9, 2006 - 12:38pm

Difference between a 'smart shmoozer' and a regular shmoozer, is that a smart shmoozer knows how to get what he wants out of the person but without the bluntness.

An exceptional shmoozer is someone who manages to do that, and still manage to call a person 2 months later and for that person to smile when they hear the shmoozer on the other end of the phone.

Also its important to note, majority of people Know they are being shmoozed, but still rather talk to someone who makes them feel momentarily better - than someone who is being difficult.

Several other attributes of a shmoozer are:
1. Avoid being judgemental
2. Avoid expressing harsh or extreme opinions
3. Being highly agreeable,
4. Making sure if more than one person is involved to keep everyone equally engaged and maintaining the lowest conversational denominator.
5. Find the common interest / locate what fuels a person's passion

August 9, 2006 - 3:07pm

"What good schmoozer traits did I miss?"



August 9, 2006 - 3:32pm

Aaron, I am really glad you wrote this post. Schmoozing is definitely something I have wanted to address with myself for sometime and an area that I need work in.

If I am not introduced to people, I will usually become that fly on the wall. I often feel that by walking up to someone and introducing myself, I am over stepping boundaries and invading that person's space. Plus, I have never really been great at conversation starting for fear of saying something stupid. I guess that is a confidence issue or lack of content. ;)

However, once I am introduced to someone, I can talk about anything you want to throw out. Plus, I will strike up new conversations as well. Maybe I am just too courteous and need to grow some balls?

At any rate, both you and Oren made some really good points and should help me out a lot.

Thanks guys.

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