Schmooze your way in

I liked the opener in this K@W article on “Two minute schmooze” – coined by the COO of Lee Hecht Harrison, a globar career management firm – that stresses the importance of greeting the receptionist. It goes on to enquire whether ethical behavior can be legislated as opposed to compliance that could be mandated. Though long, it has some good anecdotes. I suggest you read it.

“A receptionist is a corporate concierge.  She talks to more customers, suppliers and even CEOs in a day than you will in a year” according to “Ray”, the COO.

My work involves calling on a lot of offices and schmoozing the receptionist comes naturally to me now.  For good reason ; (a) I get treated well and I am a priority next time (b) I get a headstart about the firm, its business and as my visits add up, I even get tipped when a competitor tries to break in  (c) My messages do get in and I do get called back as soon as people resume at their workstations. Cut the frills, isn’t it the natural reaction to the first face that smiles at you ? ….As simple as that ! 

What sort of people could loath it ?  What would you call the creep that fails to schmooze a smile ?  I get quite a few New Year greetings from companies where I couldn’t close deals or haven’t visited lately – but the bounce in their voices is unmistakable even as my memory fails to catch up with all of those I may have schmoozed.

It’s nice to know people do care. Perhaps it’s a fantastic way to start a year and believe me, I haven’t had a bad year because of that.



5 Responses to “Schmooze your way in”

  1. pinkzilla Says:

    i love the idea of schmooze ;p.

  2. marlajayne Says:

    Thanks to your link, I was able to easily find and read this entire article…very helpful and true. I especially like Maya Angelou’s quote about being not remembering what you did or said but how you made them feel.

    In an organization where I worked for a number of years, there was a receptionist/switchboard operator who sat in the middle of this big circular piece of furniture inside of an atrium of sort. She had “her finger on the pulse” about employee’s quirks, flaws, character traits, chance of success (or not), and her perceptions were well-respected. Her opinion about iinterviewees was even sought!

    Someone once said that you could tell a lot about a person’s character by the way he treated someone who could do absolutely nothing for him. However, I’ve learned that sometimes the person who might be overlooked, dismissed as unimportant, or snubbed is the person who could actually help another the most.

  3. Krish Says:


    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.

    I believe the tendency to reach out and schmooze is inherent in every human being. It’s a natural instinct. Those who don’t are either introverts or walking zombies – humorless either way, in that they are unable to look at life from the front of their eyelids forward.

  4. Shefaly Says:

    “What sort of people could loath it?”

    Both in the UK and in India, those, who believe that they are from a superior social class than the receptionist (or you could substitute anything from this list – waiter, builder, plumber, decorator, gardener or any number of tradespeople) is. Alas, superior socio-economic class does not always mean ‘class’ per se, does it?

    It is, I believe, important to see the human being rather than the role, and nearly everything else can flow easily from it…


  5. Krish Says:


    Good to see you !

    That egotistical breed will completely tell itself off only when it experiences the worst. Of repeated calls not eliciting a response and the shirker keeps slinking under the radar. That’s when you’d worship a friendly receptionist that hunts them down.

    It’s worth watching the second time. Imagine a roughed up plumber acting up when a leaking pipe leaves home a mess. Got a blown fuse and an electrician looks the other way or so it goes. Schmooze them all. In fact, they are much more bankable than many suits I know.

    Thanx for dropping in.

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