Welcome back to the weekly series where i (we) analyze the business situations encountered by possibly one of the greatest bosses ever
Cocktails — s03e17. In this episode, Michael is invited to attend a cocktail party hosted by the Dunder Mifflin’s CFO — Mr. David Wallace. It’s a fancy party hosted in the CFO’s house (fancy) and Micheal and top salesmen from he branch are invited to mingle and share a laugh or two, in an officially “unofficial” way.
Micheal, Dwight and Jim are all sharing examples of how to behave and definitely how NOT to behave in these mingling events.
how many times have someone told you:
“You have to network, go to events, mingle, meet people…”
They’re not wrong (whoever said that to you), but that’s not the point. Yes, we have to mingle and network and meet and greet, but as with we analyze here, lets review how Michael Scott sees and does networking.
“Michael, you go to parties all the time, why this one is different?”
As usually, Michael asks himself the questions he want other people to ask him, and this party is different, why? because Michael and Jan (his crush) are going together as a “couple”.
this made me think about myself going to parties all the time. By parties i mean meetups, gatherings, hackathons, conferences, events, pizza nights, etc. etc. and they are mostly the same, so what is a different party to you? what would make you go to a networking event?
If i use Michael’s reason here (figuratively), this means i have something to share or tell people, so i have something to network about. In all those networking event where i just showed up without any clear idea about what i was hoping t get — it turned out to be a waste of time and made me dislike these events, but i was seeing it wrong. If i had news, or any piece or relevant information for that specific event, i would so wanna go, because networking is about connecting with the right people. But something to share is not enough, i also verify that the event will have people i find interesting or relevant for me to network with, and to make sure i progress my business by devoting my time to an event.
Yes, networking events can be a really waste of time, because most people are not sure how exactly to offer and often misread niceness with interest. At least if i have something interesting for that target audience, it’ll make more sense to me and the people i’m about to network with.
Arriving early — should you? it’s polite
Michael arrived really early! it gave some advantages like realizing he’s wearing the same clothes as the waiters or small talking to David’s wife (the host) intimately before everyone else showed up.
But should you arrive early to mingling networking events? i mean these events usually have a dedicated time slot just for networking, so you can always come then, but what Michael did by arriving early was set himself up for networking when people are more alert, their guards are lower and they are more patient to hear you ramp on and on about yourself.
I used arriving early when i knew exactly who i wanted to “network” with at an event. And it did allow me more time to spend with him at the very beginning of the event when they were still setting up even.
How to dress? A good opportunity to show the real you
Let’s first try to agree o something — networking and mingling events are designed to make people connect in a more casual way than in the office. Thats why they are usually at a very easy-going venue (bars, parties, gatherings etc.). Michael insisted Dwight will change shirts with him, this was very smart of him. In my previous post about non-verbal communication i wrote about how clothing is another type of controlled non-verbal communication method and we use it convey what we want others to think of us, so Michael made the right choice by not wanting to be visually inseparable from the staff. good one Michael!
Also, by dressing the way you feel most comfortable and yourself in, can signal other like-minded individuals to network with you.
“Jan and i are lovers”
When Michael and Jan (who by now have a very weird relationship) start mingling with others, michael greets everyone with a casual Hello and immediately compliments with “jan and i are lovers”. He so desperately wants everyone to know this about hi that he doesn't even bother to bring it u naturally into the conversation, i admit i did that once because i had to seize the opp.
You know how when you go to these events, and you find someone interesting to talk to, or someone you waited all evening to approach, and since you know time is precious — you just start blabbering on and on and say all the things you think needed to be heard. Think for a second how that sounds to the other party, although sometimes as i said, you have to seize the opp — so when in doubt, do what Michael would’ve done.
“Do you have some Splenda?!?”—Getting intimate
I don’t know how michael did that, but somehow he got David, Jan and a few others to go to a private room to sip some fine whiskey. Still, its Michael, who wanted to put Splenda in the scotch, but the ability to get into a private drinking session with the host of the party is something i dont mind setting myself as a goal for events from now on.
Best for last — Sneaking out
There was someone else in that cocktail party who did much better than Michael knowingly and unknowingly — Jim.
He sneaked outside with David the CFO to shoot some hoops and immediately they sparked a very honest and open conversation, not about business, but as it was clearly showed in the rest of the show, David really liked Jim personally.
Get people out of their comfort zone and they will open to you, same can be achieved in almost any networking event.
Happy mingling ya’ll :) Cheers, RT