ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Schmooze or Lose: Because It’s Important for Business, AND It Rhymes

In: How to Sell Yourself

People.

They're a curious breed.

But they're a (really) necessary part of your business. And your success. And your 80th birthday party, because who wants to go to an 80th birthday party with no attendees? Not me.

As it turns out, learning how to talk to them (all people, not just the 80 year old crowd) is one of the most important skills anyone–you, me, Superman and anyone public speaking alongside Obama–could ever learn. (If you're speaking next to Obama, first, congratulations, but second? Good luck not coming off as a sub par ant of a human.)

This past week, one of my business partners, Jenny, flew down to meet me here in Costa Rica for an intense week-long strategy session. There were mojitos. And massages. And spiders the size of your hand. And also, synergy.

You know, that whole thing where, when the right two people get together, you're more capable of big, bold, fireworks in this world than you are as individuals.

And one of the things that Jenny is strikingly good at?

Good old-fashioned SCHMOOZING.

Oh, is she a schmoozer. She schmoozed everybody in town, including pineapple man. And all these years, I thought I was good with people. If I'm good with people, Jenny is the wonderbra of social interactions. (Sorry, J-Fo – didn't mean to reduce you to an undergarment, but hey, you *ARE* an excellent support structure.)

Jenny's the kind of person that can walk into any social setting, and within 3 minutes, will have befriended at least 5 people, a waiter, the waiter's wife, and the grumpy asshat seated at Table 5.

She's got an incredible knack for endearing people to her almost instantly. (Except our photographer. We did a team photo shoot while she was here, alongside our right-hand woman, Meredith, and he was a tough cookie to crack. So, he can be the exception. FINE.)

When I asked her what her trick was, she slugged her mojito and proceeded to tell me this:

1. Touch people, already. Appropriately. They aren't a rare specimen in a museum–they're another human being, hoping to connect with you, too. Because isn't that what we all want? Have the confidence that they'll want to talk to you as much as you'll want to talk to them. And then, reach out and touch 'em. A touch on the arm goes a long way to communicate your sincere interest in them, and it'll force them to give you their attention. Every time. (Note: Men have gotta be careful with this one. Fine line between, “Wow, you're a fascinating person and I'm interested in knowing you” and “Hey, how 'bout me and you take a little walk…” Aim for sincere, not creepy. And for the love, ixnay on the “friendly shoulder rub.” (You'd be surprised the shit we women encounter.)

2. Speaking of sincere interest in THEM, actually have one. Ask them questions about themselves. Drop everything in your brain, and actually give a damn about their answers. When you can make other people feel important to you, you'll be important to them.

3. Take off your girdle and relax. Nobody cares if your smile is crooked. Have fun. Laugh with them. Be genuine. And be genuinely happy to be having that interaction right there and then. Whether it's the CEO of Nike, or the bus boy at your local watering hole, serve up the same twinkle in your eye, and love the act of being human together.

Okay, so she didn't really say that last part about being human together, and I totally edited it in, but I think that J-Fo's onto something, here.

Because that whole connect with humans thing? It's not going anywhere.

And if you want to thrive in this world? In your business? In your relationships? In your life?

You've gotta get better at this.

I'm convinced Jenny could walk into the Donald's office tomorrow and walk out with a billion bucks, a box of cigars and his cell phone number. Why do you think I've recruited her to work with me?

The question that remains is:

Could you?

Work on this, and you can have the world.

Work on other stuff, and you can have a piece of the world your future boss is presently negotiating.

May 4

2017

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May 4, 2017

I’m working with a client, right now, who wants to sell emotional intelligence. That’s the result you get when you work with her. EQ, instead of IQ. And emotional intelligence is actually really, really important. It’s one of the biggest predictors of success, believe it or not. She’s read the literature. I’ve read the literature. […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Jun 12

2015

How to Sell a $250,000 Diamond Ring

Jun 12, 2015

You know how when you want to sound professional on the phone, you do that thing where you clear your throat, steady your voice, and then inevitably start talking THREE OCTAVES HIGHER in that sickening sweet, Southern-Belle-esque manner, almost as if you were speaking to a priest, or maybe the sheriff, all while using words […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Mar 13

2015

This Bastard Was Getting Paid $10,000 a Month.

Mar 13, 2015

This bastard was getting paid $10,000 dollars a month. He was on contract with my company at the time, brought on as a consultant to work directly with a young (and far less wrinkley-lipped) yours truly. This was some ten plus years ago, mind you, at a time when things like blogs were for morons who liked […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Sep 2

2014

The Short, Slightly Sarcastic Answer to (At Least Eleven) Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Selling Yourself. Featuring: A Strong Opinion.

Sep 2, 2014

Q: Should I give away free consults? A: Are you running a business or a charity? EEEEEEEEEEET. Time’s up. The correct answer is [extra title=”Unless you *are* running a charity, in which case, oops?” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]business. [/extra] Ding, ding, ding. And businesses are for profit. Key words: For profit. Respect your own time and prospects will, […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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Dec 30

2014

Repeat After Me: You Are Not Your Buyer

Dec 30, 2014

It’s two days before the new year, and I’m doing exactly what you are: Dicking around on the internet and calling it “downtime.” It’s absolutely PHENOMENAL. But, as we all prepare to become supermodel [extra title=”Isn’t that your plan?” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]trazillionaire cigar-smoking business moguls in 2015, [/extra] there is one thing I want to encourage […]

In: How to Sell Yourself

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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