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Talk to Strangers: How Everyday, Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income, and Life by David Topus

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Chapter 4

Schmooze or Lose

Many people believe that success in business is based solely on numbers and money or that success in life is about focus, discipline, and goal attainment. Although these formulas are valid to a degree, there is an overarching ingredient that trumps all others: it’s called people. If you want to be successful in business or in life, you have to be successful with people. You have to be able to connect with people from different walks of life, and with all kinds of personalities and communication styles. You have to know how to build relationships. You must share a little bit of yourself in exchange for others sharing a little bit of themselves. This builds relationship equity—trust, mutual respect, likability. And it creates access to unlimited opportunity.

There’s a saying that “nothing happens until somebody says something.” Progress simply isn’t made when people don’t talk to one another. Information doesn’t flow, ideas aren’t exchanged, and energy doesn’t move. But when one party opens his or her mouth and speaks up, conversation starts, thoughts are shared, creativity comes alive, possibilities appear, and the world—both yours and theirs—changes . . . usually for the better.

The way we get to know someone and build a relationship is through talking—good old-fashioned conversation. The Yiddish word schmooze means “to chat, to converse, to talk.” Some call it shooting the breeze, and others refer to it as chewing the fat. But at the end of the day, ...

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