Friday, February 15, 2008

38. Schmooze or you Lose

One of the critical traits that distinguishes a Famous Architect from the architects that designs boring stuff and bitch about it for a living, is that famous Architects are at home both in the office and in the spotlight.

If you are a master in the studio but have a social IQ of zero, chances are you will never be a famous architect. You might as well trade in the black get up for something a little more colorful. Otherwise you look like a confused undertaker. Sorry to be so blunt.

If you think for one second that schmoozing and socializing is a distraction from your work as an architect or that you are too noble to get involved in such a contrived activity. Then I suggest you stop reading right now. In fact let me help you find your way out. Click here to exit blog.

If you are headed for the road to stardom read on.

Consider this, if you don't schmooze you at least stand a great chance of missing out on all the back-door opportunities and potential opportunities that you would not have otherwise gotten if you were slaving away at the drafting board, computer, or whatever.

When we say opportunities, we are not just talking about commissions here, there are collaboration opportunities, off the grid information, invitations, insights, opinions, gossip and the flat out juicy stuff that you wouldn't find anywhere else than through a good conversation.

If you don't get these opportunities, chances are you are at risk of inhibiting your scope & development as an architect. Perhaps you have heard the phrase "If you are not going up you are going down". It follows than, that if you are a reasonably talented architect and you are ducking these opportunities then you are heading towards being a shitty architect: the kind that primarily work for money, not for fame or glory.

"I took my son to Scandinavia and we went sledging with teams of huskies. At first I thought the dogs were being overworked, but I quickly learnt that they are never happier than when pelting flat out.

"I'm not very different."

When we posted this statement by Foster a few months back, the obvious reference is that he was never happier working in the studio making architecture, but it doesn't stop there. Schmoozing to get the clients, the publicity, the funding, opportunities to collaborate and everything else that it takes to get your project built is just as important as solving the critical details.

My friends, your creativity as an architect does not stop at the drafting table. It permeates every aspect of what you do as an architect. If your view is that an architect's work is limited to the office & the field, then you are probably a draftsman or a project manager. Its okay to be that but don't confuse yourself with an architect or an aspiring starchitect.

If you are not a social butterfly don't disappear. It’s a skill that can be learned just like CAD, Photoshop, or illustrator.

I suggest you get to the self help section on in your nearest book store, pick up a book on schmoozing and then head to your local pub and start practicing conversing to other human-beings.
For starters, don’t be put off by the word “schmooze,” a widely misinterpreted Yiddish word that actually means easygoing, relaxed conversation, it does not mean ‘making business contacts’ nor does it mean ‘sales success',
Schmoozing starts with something as simple as small talk. The best business relationships begin that way. Check out Diller & Scofidio hard at work above.
You will never know what Steven Holl and Robert Stern were smiling about if you never came to the party.

Consider yourself liberated!
By Conrad Newel,
Staff writer
Liberaing Minds Since August 2007


B. said...

Just a quick note of praise: I love your blog. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Another suggestion: when going to parties, approach to people you'd like to talk to. Eventually they will come to you to check out that mysterious person. It makes the conversation so much easier. It worked for me.

Anonymous said...

haha~nice blog, ok...always stay cool~

Anonymous said...

awesome........ great insite ........