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Socialising according to Charles Saatchi – networking tips?

June 20, 2012

From an article in Thursdays London Evening Standard (14th June 2012)

Could I find it online – no – hence this précis!

Titled “Socialising for party duds” written by Charles Saatchi

Charles acknowledges that he is not the person who enjoys standing around at a cocktail party with a taxi waiting to take him to 2 more.  He does concede that it perhaps his loss and also a little late to enrol in a “Socialising for Beginners Class”

I would like to add here that rather than enrolling in this his talent is probably to run the class.  You will see this as I do my best to bring out the plethora of great advice!

Mr Saatchi asks a number of questions that get you thinking

  • How are you on social etiquette?
  • When do you do handshakes, or kisses or 2 kisses?
  • When do you hug?
  • What do you do if you have met someone only once?

What is the international guideline – is it 2 kisses for someone you’ve met a few times before, a handshake for someone you’ve met for the first time, is it a cordial handshake or one with a pat on the shoulder when they leave?

How often does it happen that as someone leans forward for a hug you have your hand out for a handshake?  What about the times when you have kissed a woman on the cheek in greeting and you realise belatedly that she is offering her other cheek?

What about the Dale Carnegie technique – of a double hand clasp, a penetrating direct stare and an immediate repetition of your first name – is this winning friends or influencing people?

Charles quotes from Gretchen Rubin’s guide that was published in Psychology Today.  Gretchen’s guide was about social awkwardness and the fear of being a dull person at a party (social/business gathering can apply here).  The guide was clear in making the point that 2social awkwardness” is clearly widespread and can easily be observed

To quote Mr Saatchi’s article

Repeated Perfunctory responses

Your listener repeats “Oh really”, “Wow”, “Interesting” – are they really engaged?

Simple questions

People who are bored ask simple questions like “How did you get here”, “How’s business?”

The more complicated questions the more interested the person is in you – shows curiosity and not just politeness.  Great for building relationships


Sounds rude but not necessarily a bad sign, often meaning that the person is interested and keen to say something – unless it to go off their talk about themselves!

Request for clarification

A person who is sincerely interested what you bare saying will ask you to elaborate and explain – the open question gives this away – even better a series of open questions – What does that mean?, When did that happen, what did they say – all questions that show someone is trying to follow your conversation

Imbalance of talking time

Many people fondly believe that because they do most of the talking that people find them fascinating.  In general  though people who are interested in a subject have things to say themselves, they want to add their own opinions, information and experiences.  If they are not doing that they’re probably keeping quiet in the hope that the conversation will end more quickly.

Abrupt changes in topic

If you are talking to someone about the “The secret life of bees” and someone then aslks how your kids are – it’s probably a sign of did interest, not listening or both!

Audience posture

People will slouch or lean when bored, attentive people fidget less, – as Charles Saatchi puts it “less squirmy”.  Remember if you are bored then there will be  a good chance that they will be bored too

Only if you are truly desperate does Mr Saatchi advise you use the following topics

  • A dream
  • Recent changes in your children’s schedule
  • The route you took to get here
  • An excellent meal you once had
  • An account of your last golf game
  • The plot of a movie – especially the funny parts

What would you add to this list?

In conclusion we need to be aware of where we are going, who we could meet and above all to be prepared – prepared to look and listen, be informed about a whole range of subjects

Charles Saatchi’s Book – Be the worst that you can – available from Booth -Clibborn

An interesting set of questions and answers from Charles Saatchi here – The Guardian – Digested Read


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