I often speak with clients about the virtues of hosting open houses, annual celebrations, and other events that bring people into closer contact with their organizations. And I’ve come to recognize a particular panic surrounding these occasions: some people are afraid that they won’t know what to say or how to act once the guests arrive.
This is not an unusual worry. In fact, I once worked at an organization that held a major annual event with over 500 guests. One year, a few weeks before the big celebration, the C.O.O. asked me to lead a staff training on “Schmoozing 101.” And so I did: it was like a one-hour finishing school for socially anxious middle-aged people. I’m not sure it helped my colleagues back then – despite my best efforts, I remember seeing them during the event clumped along the walls like nervous 7th graders at a school dance. But it was fun for me to try to turn the practice of social mixing into theory.
And today, for the shy among you, here’s my on-line version of that Schmoozing 101 curriculum. Continue reading