That is a tough question and I guess those salespeople who are both successful and happy have gotten it figured out. I can't really give "tips" here, but I can give insight as to how I try to balance it. And I keep trying...
First of all, it is important to note that public relations is a sale because it's the selling of a concept or idea, yet I try to steer far away from the salesperson approach to PR - ICK! But how do you network and start building relationships that are business in orientation without coming across as being a pushy business pain-in-the-ass?
And here folks - I give you a list!
1.) Alcohol and Humor - if you are lucky enough to have a sense of humor and are surrounded by others with senses of humor and alcohol is involved - you are golden! You can yap away all night, solve the world's problems, and look forward to seeing each other in a boardroom one day. Unfortunately not everyone is funny and not everyone gets witty when they drink.
2.) Smile and mean it! There's nothing worse than those surly faced business gals and those guys that undress with their eyes. Sometimes it baffles me how these types of people are successful. If you're bopping around at a business function of some sort, chances are most people are just as uncomfortable as you. I enjoy getting people into conversation just to know that I helped make them feel less uncomfortable, but I could never do it if I wasn't actually happy with who I am and what I'm doing.
3.) Balance between Ego and Humility - ahhh, so difficult to balance! Yes, egos have to stay in check, that is obvious. But, with business networking, people do want to know what you do and what your strengths are, so finding that balance between bragging a little about what you do and being able to make fun of yourself is so key!
4.) Business Cards - Bring 'em and get 'em! Hand them out and get whatever you can get but then you MUST follow up!!!! This allows fun chit chat, shooting the breeze, skimmin' the foam - whatever! But then a business conversation can follow when people are back at the drone of computer monitors and too many bagels.
5.) Embrace the Marketing Golden Rule in whatever you do! And what is that rule you ask? You Cannot Be Everything To Everyone - EVER. The sooner people, businesses, concepts, organizations, etc. learn that rule, the more lucrative they will see marketing and publicity efforts become! This gets into targeted audiences and I think my PR students at Champlain College should be able to give a good talk on this area. Some people will not like you, your product, your idea, your hair, or your shoes. Get over it and move on to someone who does without getting pissy!
Ok, comments time!! What are some of YOUR tips to selling, networking, schmoozing, etc.