Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.
What is included with this book?
If working a room is so much fun and so profitable, why do our hearts thump, our palms sweat and our eyes glaze over when we think about it? One reason is that 88 percent of us think of ourselves as shy. When we get invited to a meeting, conference or party, we shy away from the opportunity in order to avoid the discomfort.
Another reason is that many years ago we were taught not to talk to strangers. Mom gave us these dire warnings with the best of intentions, "for our own good," and everybody agreed that we should heed them. The trouble is, they worked a lot better when we were six years old than they do now that we are twenty-six, forty-six or sixty-six.
Now that we're no longer walking home alone from first grade, these dire warnings have changed from safety barriers into roadblocks that prevent us from mingling comfortably and effectively with other people. Mom isn't to blame. But we heard these warnings so often-and perhaps repeated them to our own kids so often-that they became a way of life. There are five major roadblocks to working a room successfully. Knowing where they come from is the first step to letting go of them.
Roadblock #1 "Don't Talk to Strangers"
This first roadblock is as American as apple pie. It is often accompanied by a shaking of the index finger. It made sense when our mothers did this to us, and it makes sense when we do it to our children. We still don't want our children to talk to strangers on the way home from school today-more than ever.
But it doesn't make sense when we're selling a product at a trade show, beginning our first day on a new job, attending a formal ball or mingling at a professional-association meeting or convention where contacts and connections are standing six deep around the room. Yet we often find ourselves standing in the door, paralyzed, with that imaginary finger shaking in our faces and the message "Don't talk to strangers" flashing across our subconscious. So, we don't instead, we choose a nice, quiet spot at the hors d'oeuvres table and start nibbling, get very busy with a cup of coffee or a drink, smile nervously around the room at no one in particular-and have an awful time. Or we hang out on the periphery of the room ... against the walls. (Hence the term "wallflower.")
The problem is that we also miss tremendous business, career and social opportunities. Who knows what wonderful person or valuable contact was standing in that room feeling just as uncomfortable as we were
Life is too short, and time too precious, to spend an hour or two squandering opportunities and, in the process, having a bad time.
Roadblock #2 "Wait to be Properly Introduced" (The Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome)
Imagine Scarlett, standing on the steps of Tara in all its antebellum glory, batting her eyelashes as she drawls, "My, but we haven't been properly introduced." Her beauty and charm notwithstanding, Scarlett wouldn't have gotten very far at a professional association meeting. In Scarlett's day and social sphere, everyone was very much aware of proper introductions and there were people, usually older women, who did little else. They would make sure you met that gallant, dark-haired man or that stunning belle or the local banker who might be interested in your crop expansion.
But tomorrow did, indeed, become cc another day' and now you can't count on personal or professional 'matchmakers' to be sure you are introduced around at the political meeting or the reception after the lecture.
Yet many of us were taught that it "wasn't niceto talk to someone unless we had been introduced by a mutual acquaintance. It is certainly easier to begin a conversation when you've been formally introduced. At the very least, you have in common the person who introduced you. "How do you know Leslie?" elicits more information about the person you've just met, and can lead to other subjects of conversation.
But at most events we can't count on being introduced to anyone, let alone the people we most want to meet. We may be on our own when it comes to circulating, and we may have to walk up to people and introduce ourselves. If we don't want to be left standing in the middle of the room, staring at the ceiling or the floor, we have to realize that Scarlett had her world and we have ours ... and send her packing back to Tara.
Roadblock #3 "Don't be Pushy Good Things Come to Those Who Wait" (The Prom King/Queen complex)
Let's face it. The world may beat a path to the door of Prom Kings and Queens, but not everyone is royal. And once the Prom is over, even the ex-Kings and ex-Queens can't always afford to sit back and hope that people will seek them out.
As we watched the Kings and Queens being besieged with dates, Mom told us, "Good things come to those who wait." Au contraire... gray hair comes to those who wait, and sometimes even varicose veins if the waiting is done standing up!
Waiting for people to find you and introduce themselves is an exercise in futility. Chances are, they won't because it's just as difficult for them as it is for you. Because 88 percent of us are shy and won't initiate, the "waiting game" is a colossal waste of time, no fun at all and murder on your self-esteem.How to Work a Room, Revised Edition
Excerpted from How to Work a Room: Savvy Socializing by Susan RoAne
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.