What Negotiators Need To Know About Schmoozing

Schmoozing is what you have to do before a negotiation
Schmoozing is what you have to do before a negotiation
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Psst. Would you like to know a secret? It turns out no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are used in a negotiation, you can ensure that you’ll get what you want even before the negotiation starts. Do I have your interest now? This is going to take some work on your part, but it works every time. I guarantee it.

It’s All About The Schmooze

So just exactly what is schmoozing? Schmoozing is simply taking the time to talk with people. Everyone. About everything. What’s most important to understand about schmoozing is when you need to do it. This is something that you have to do long before any negotiation starts. When you need to have a schmoozing-based relationship with someone, you can’t just go out and create one. It already has to be in place.

Schmoozing, when done correctly, is done on a daily basis. You schmooze by taking the time to walk over to where the other person is. You go for coffee (or tea!) with them. The conversations that you have with them are real – you actually drop your guard and allow them to get to know you. At the same time you take the time to find out who they really are. What are their hopes and fears and dreams?

You need to understand that the type of schmoozing that we’re talking about here is different from the types of conversations that you might have with customers or other members of your team or even your boss. No, what we’re talking about here is making a real connection with the people who may someday be sitting on the other side of the table from you.

Who You Schmooze With Is Just As Important

This is where things start to get very interesting. Who you schmooze with is just as important as how you schmooze. I’m almost sorry to have to inform you about this, but you need to take the time to do something that may turn out to be very difficult for you to do. You have to schmooze with your adversaries.

Yep, you need to take the time to sit down and have heart-to-heart talks with people that you might not like very much. You need to schmooze with the people who don’t like the way that you negotiate, who don’t like the people that you work for, or who represent people who don’t really want to do business with you.

The reason that schmoozing with this group of people is so important is that you can’t predict who you’ll be negotiating with next. Because of that, you need make sure that you’ve got all of the bases covered. This means that you need to make sure that before your next negotiation arrives, you’ve made sure to schmooze with the people who are most likely going to be on the other side – the people that you may not like very much!

What All Of This Means For You

The impossible dream for negotiators has always been to be able to go into our next principled negotiation knowing that we were just about guaranteed to walk away with a good deal. It turns out that with a little work on our part, we can make this happen.

What we need to learn is the art of schmoozing. This means that we need to take the time to talk to people long before a negotiation starts. This is not a casual type of talking, rather it is a real sharing of viewpoints and showing that we care about them and what’s going on in their lives. What makes this schmoozing stuff even tougher is that we need to do it with everyone – even the people that we don’t like!

Schmoozing sure sounds like a real effort. It should. However, if you’ve ever seen someone who is an excellent negotiator you’ve probably seen someone who is a great schmoozer. Take the time to spend time with everyone that you might encounter in a negotiation someday and you’ll be amazed at how much easier your negotiations become!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How much time each week do you think that you should spend schmoozing?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Can we all agree that negotiations are complicated things? I mean, just think about all of the work that you put into preparing for you last negotiation – you did put in a lot of work preparing, didn’t you? It turns out that there’s been some very fascinating research done about how much effort people are willing to put into a given negotiation and the answer just might surprise you…

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