Top Seven Business Social Tips
So, business social can be all kinds of different things. This can be mix and mingle events, this can be dinner when you're out at a conference, this can be the lunch that your team goes to or shares in a communal kitchen or office space. It can be a summer ball game, an annual company dinner. The examples of business social events and experiences are almost too many for us to really define. But there are certain practices that are gonna help you no matter what situation you find yourself in. The first tip that I have is that you avoid the temptation to socialize only with your colleagues. Dance with the one that brought you, absolutely, but also make an effort to dance with other people. This is particularly important if you're talking about conferences or business social events that are designed to help foster new relationships, new contacts. One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable to not succumb to the familiar, to not succumb to the habitual and comfortable interactions a...
nd to not only pursue those, is to set social goals for yourself. I like to say, remind yourself that you're gonna introduce yourself to three people that you've never met before. When I'm talking to student audiences, I say, you're in school, this is one of the best opportunities you'll have in your entire life to meet new people, do it, do it all the time. Introduce yourself to people, introduce people to each other, get easy making those connections. If you're not comfortable doing it, pay attention to the structure of those introductions and then participate, challenge yourself to go do them. I come from New England, we have a lot of flea markets in New England. They say when you go to a flea market, it's very easy just to walk around and look at all the stuff. If you wanna get something, tell yourself before you get out of your car, I'm gonna buy something today. It's much more likely that you end up buying something. That you end up participating in a little negotiation, you walk away with something at the end. Set a social goal for yourself. Here's another idea, if you're at a business social event, with people that you already know, challenge yourself to find out something new about one of those people. I'm not gonna introduce myself to anyone new, I know the four people that are on my sales team, we have lunch every Wednesday. Okay, find out something new about one of those people. Ask them questions about themselves, be curious, be an investigator, don't pry or probe or be awkward about it, but learn something about somebody that you didn't know before. Imagine that you were going to need to justify an expense report to an employer. They've paid to send you to a conference, where you're not gonna come back with a new client, but the idea is that you learn something, or that you make connections. How are you gonna talk to the person who's signing off on your expense report about what you did when you were away? Who did you meet, what did you learn? Why would it be worth sending you again? Set goals for yourself. I said we would return to the idea of over indulgence. Don't stuff your plate or over imbibe. Follow the one drink rule. Sometimes when I'm giving this talk, this slide interrupts itself, and we go to a new slide. The talks about the one drink rule. Drinking, drinking in business situations is something that's a little bit tricky. I like to start off by identifying that there is a very strong floor that we're standing on when we're talking about drinking in business situations and the first is that you're never expected to drink and you're never expected to explain your reasons for not drinking. The reasons that people don't drink are numerous. Sometimes it's health, sometimes it's religious, sometimes it's for personal reasons. All of those are things that people might not feel comfortable talking about in a business context or situation. Nobody's gonna ask you probing questions. You're not compelled to tell people why you've made your decision, and you're also not compelled to drink it you don't want to. Having said that, if you do drink socially, if this is something that you participate in, know your limits ahead of time, set them ahead of time and then stick to them. For many people, that's a one drink rule. It's a formal dining experience, there's seven courses, there's a small glass of wine that's paired with each course, by all means, if you're sitting there for three hours, and that's part of the experience, participate the way you'd want, but generally speaking there's always an exception to every rule. Hold yourself accountable, know your limits ahead of time, and then stick to them. Ultimately you're responsible. You're responsible for your conduct, it's gonna be business again next day, or later that afternoon. Be really careful. I've mentioned the clients that hire me to come talk, I am continually surprised at how many clients want me to address this issue in particular. It continues to be a question that's difficult for professionals of all levels of organizations. Hold yourself accountable. If you think to yourself, boy, you know, I don't have any kind of level of accountability in my mind for how I do this, this is a great moment to think for a moment and maybe think about starting with a one drink rule. I don't wanna belabor the point, but I do wanna talk about a deal breaker. Don't talk with your mouth full. Eating is inherently a gross activity. There, that's dining etiquette 101, everything you need to know from Emily Post. To make a noise is to suggest an animal, to make a mess is disgusting, those are actual Emily Post quotes. Eating is inherently a gross activity, don't gross the people that you're with out, don't talk with your mouth full, don't chew with your mouth open, bonus points if you can chew in a way that I can't hear it. It's funny, we just finished the host guest slides. Emily Post Dining Etiquette in the 1922 edition. It's almost entirely about how you build a guest list. It's about who you invite, who you sit next to whom. It's kind of awesome. I'd spent years telling people that the table manners we described in the '22 edition were almost identical to the table manners we've described in the 19th edition of Emily Post Etiquette. I've been saying it so much, and I've been giving the advice that you have to be honest so much I said to myself, I really should go double check and be sure that that's true. So I went back to the '22 edition of Etiquette, I looked at Dining Etiquette to see what I could find there. I couldn't find much, it was all about guest lists. It was all about how you manage discussion at the table, and how you composed a guest list of interesting people who would interact well with each other. I said, where's the dining etiquette here, this is all about people. You know where the dining etiquette is that we think about as dining etiquette? The forks, and the tableware? It's in the appendix at the end of the book. (audience laughing) You know what the appendix of the Dining Etiquette's called? Etiquette Kindergarten. She thought of that as the kids' stuff, it was expected that you knew how to hold your knife and fork that you know how to navigate a place setting, that you knew how to eat an artichoke. I know. It was about hosting guest roles and responsibility, that's what Emily Post thought of as dining etiquette. This is the basic, this is the etiquette kindergarten stuff, but it does matter, and it's in that first book of Etiquette. Don't talk with your mouth full. That's the deal breaker, don't make a mess, don't leave a trail of detritus behind you at a mix and mingle function. Get a couple extra napkins so you can clean up after yourself. But then throw that little plate and those napkins away in the trash cans that are usually around a mix and mingle venue or event. Keep it neat, don't make a mess, don't gross people out. You're gonna be in pretty good shape. Okay, dining etiquette all done. Wash our hands. Welcome people into your conversation. Be generous in terms of how you interact and engage with other people. Welcome, it's so good to see you, we're talking about X, Y, or Z. Hi, we haven't met yet, I'm Dan Post Senning, we're talking about etiquette today, it's so good to have you here. Thanks for coming over and saying hi. I've been talking to these folks that I came with all afternoon. Avoid the temptation to build rapport by sharing negative news, information, or gossip. It's really easy to feel like you're building rapport, by sharing a complaint with someone. Keep it positive, challenge yourself. Particularly in business context and situations. This is not the time to vent, this is not the time to tease out what you would prefer your boss do. And finally, follow up when appropriate. If we're really talking about business social occasions where you're looking to initiate and begin relationships in new ways, take advantage of the opportunity to follow up. Maybe that's a LinkedIn request, maybe that's a thank you note to a host who has treated you to dinner in their own home. Opportunities for distinction is a theme I like to build into these talks. In an increasingly casual and informal world if someone cooks you a meal in a business context, seize that opportunity, write them a little thank you note. It doesn't need to be a big deal, it doesn't need to be long. Just a quick little note that says, thank you so much for having me, I really appreciated you opening your home, the meal was delicious, thank you again, sincerely, Daniel Post Senning. It will make an impact, I guarantee they will remember. The likelihood that you get invited back again. Maybe not, maybe it's a once in a lifetime thing, maybe they do that with all the new employees, or all the new contacts, but you never know. You increase the likelihood, you increase the chances. Is a phone call okay? Absolutely, call. The best is the enemy of the good, that's something else my grandfather you can say. Just because you can't do the best thing, sometimes just do the good thing. Seize the opportunities, but the best is the enemy of the good. If you don't have the stationary that you like to write with if you don't have the postage set aside. If you're not gonna go buy those things, pick up the phone, let them know, tell them you appreciated it. Send the email. Follow up.