Sunday, October 18, 2009

Social Skills

Today more than ever we are more social creatures than we've ever been. With the invention of things like Myspace and Facebook we are more interconnected than we've ever been. However, in the words of Spiderman "with great power comes great responsibility". I say this humbly because I think with the invention of all these websites, we as a people are losing the most basic things that our ancestors gave us - social skills.

I stumbled upon this brutally realistic realization at work of course. When you're in sales you come across all kinds of people either for work or because of it. If you enjoy people watching, and making stupid comments to yourself about your observations, its a great gig. However, sometimes you come across just a one-of-a-kind person and it makes you wonder, "wow, that person actually exists. Yep, that just happened!" So to help my fellow members of humanity I thought I'd come up with a list of 5 things you should avoid doing so people don't know you're a social retart:

1 - A person who brags about their past
Just like nobody cared about Al Bundy and his 4 touchdowns in one game, nobody wants to hear about you and your "hey day". The fact that you're bringing it up to brag about it, is usually a sign that your making up everything that is coming out of your mouth. The fact that in the middle of a light moment during a business meeting you start joking about how before you got married you used to be more "aggressive" with the ladies and you aren't any more, simply says that you've probably memorized every season of Stargate, and that you were more likely to be recognized at the Star Trek Fan Club instead of the Delta Ki frat parties

2 - The person who insists on buying everything
We all know that now more than ever, companies are scrutinizing expense reports more than ever before. So in the words of Bill Maher stop "acting like a pimp with a week to live". There are so many approvals required before you can get that final approval on that report, and until you get it, you are sweating like John McCain in a Vietnamese restaurant. So please playa, let's take it easy, and let someone else buy the next round.

3 - The bad dancer
Now as rare as it is, it is possible to have a round of drinks end up at a place that has a dance floor. There is one rule above all others that need to be followed. If you're a guy, please keep the Chip'n'Dale dance routine away from the dance floor. If you do this, you will probably sacrifice your career along with your dignity. If you're a woman, please remember this is a work event, and you shouldn't "bend ova to the front and touch yo toes". If you are a person who enjoys break dancing as a hobby, please remember that your review at the end of the year has to do with your performance at work, so don't try to battle on the dance floor.

4 - The guy filled with awkwardly inappropriate comments
Now, there is a difference I should point out here. There are those who can say something that is not appropriate at all, and still make it funny and as long as it gets a laugh out of everyone, I think its okay. But then there are those who just don't know when to stop or just pull crap out of no where that just makes everyone feel a bit weird. For example,

Client: Man, the waitresses in here are really pretty
Salesman: Yeah, did you see the one with the blond hair
Client: Yeah, she is gorgeous
Salesman: I would love to just bang the hell out of her until she screams and asks for more!

I'm pretty sure, that would be the end of the night right there, and I'm also pretty sure you lost a client.

5 - The hangover guy
Its tough enough to keep clients. We live in a world of increased competition. So when you can't remember what the hell you said to your client the night before, it is NOT an advantage. Also, showing up to your morning meeting and puking up last night's last shot and then going into your meeting, can mean only one thing. You better have some damn good notes for the meeting! Its pretty tough to convince your client that you are worthy of their business and you are completely on top of what's happening when you can't remember that you told them you loved them the night before. Also, its even more difficult to keep your client, when they had to pay for you to get back to your hotel.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that when it comes to work these are probably some social behaviours that need to be avoided for a successful career. These are probably also some things that should be avoided if you want to retain business and get new business. However, if you cannot control yourself, just try not to be a combination of all the things mentioned above.