Business literacy is important, but the social aspects of business are too. Because we are social beings, we often assume that employees have the skills to build rich business relationships. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Here’s a quick assessment to help evaluate social IQ.
SO WHAT’S YOUR SOCIAL IQ?
- Do you have a good understanding of basic social “graces’ or manners?
- Are there situations where you feel ill-equipped?
- Have you ever made a social blunder? Said the wrong thing? Done something that caused others to avoid you?
- Have you ever had to apologize for something you have said or done?
- Have you ever showed up to an event or social gathering to discover you were over-dressed or under-dressed?
- Do you know how to “work a room” without being obvious?
|“Certainly what one is, is of far greater importance than what one appears to be. A knowledge of etiquette is, of course, essential to one’s decent behavior, just as clothing is essential to one’s decent appearance.”|
WHAT TO DO?
If you are conducting a business meeting, you plan. You should do the same when it’s time to socialize with customers or potential customers. To make the most of social gatherings, you need to be thoughtful and prepared.
- Do your homework
- Check details and confirm
- What is the dress code?
IS IT A LARGE GATHERING?
Not everyone is comfortable at a large social gathering. In fact, some people are downright intimidated. If your company is hosting an event, you can orchestrate a great outcome with a few simple actions.
- Take action if people are alone
- Introduce people
- Stay long enough to get the conversation going
The Business Meal… a test of character!
DOING BUSINESS WHILE DINING
Doing business while dining can be a little tricky. Do you dive right in? Chat while choosing the entree? Be delightful until dessert and then tackle the tough issues? Here’s a guideline.
- Breakfast? – Get to the point
- Lunch? – After you order
- Dinner? – After eating the main course
TALK BUSINESS….or NOT? That is the question! Make sure to get the timing right.
|“In order to develop meaningful relationships you have to start somewhere. Every big business deal, every wonderful romance, starts with a conversation.”|
|Bernardo J. Carducci, professor of psychology and director of the Shyness Research Institute, Indiana University Southeast|
RULES FOR A BETTER CONVERSATION
Conversation is an art. Talk too much and you spoil the experience. Talk too little and you make people uncomfortable. A great conversation is harder than connecting via text… but it’s worth it. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Be present
- Think like a reporter
- Be curious
- Open-ended questions
The room goes silent. There is an uncomfortable feeling. People avoid your glance. Yes, you said something that killed the conversation… and maybe a relationship. Take note of a few things you might want to avoid when trying to build a business relationship.
- Controversial topics
- Probing family and financial questions