The days are getting longer. The weather is getting warmer. The Spring Social Season might be happening again. You might be attending events and meeting people. How can you lay the groundwork to see them again without coming across as predatory? Good question.

Before You Leave The Event
“Less is more.” When attending an event and chatting with people, it’s a good idea to disengage before the conversation starts to go stale. An upside to this strategy is you get to have several short conversations instead of only a couple longer ones.

Catch up with them at the end of the event. Two bottlenecks are the coat check counter and the parking valet station. If there was a charity auction involved, the checkout desk is a third spot. Thanks to technology, charity auctions are often down via a downloadable app, where you place your bids via your smartphone instead of writing your name and bid on a nearby clipboard.

Once you catch up with them, try a few of these ideas:
1. Establish your value. What were those interests in common? Why would they want to know you? How could staying in touch be worthwhile? Put another way, “What’s in it for them?”

2. See you at the next event. This is the lowest risk strategy. You are interested in reconnecting, but you aren’t going to be that pushy. You plan on attending next month’s meeting. If they are present, that’s great. If not, then you won’t be seeing each other. No big deal.

3. Including in your dinner plans. This doesn’t work if you attended a gala and just finished dessert! This works if you attended a monthly meeting or the opening of an art exhibition. It’s evening and no one has eaten. You mention where you are going. Ask if they want to join you. It’s understood everyone is paying for themselves.

4. I’d like to stay in touch. You started with “we have a lot of shared interests.” You name a few. They are impressed because you listened. Offering your business card can spoil the mood. After indicating you would like to stay in touch ask: “How do I do that?” Stop talking. They will likely provide information or suggest connecting on social media. If they don’t volunteer anything, there aren’t interested. Let them off the hook. I like to write “Bryce and Jane” and our home phone number on the back of my business card. I add a reminder: “Fellow wine fan.” I present it with the handwritten side facing up.

5. Sometimes you can be assertive. When would you not need to ask for contact information? When everyone already has it. A good example is Chamber events when everyone is listed in the member directory. After highlighting what you talked about, you might say: “I may be giving you a call.” You’ve laid the groundwork.

After The Event
Days or weeks have passed. You heard nothing. What now? It’s like dating.

1. Make the first move. You make that first call or send that message to reconnect.

2. Remind them about the next event. You said you might see them at the next event. It’s coming up soon. You can remind them.

3. Follow up on those personal interests. They are a big wine fan. So are you. This Saturday you are off to your favorite store. Do they shop there already? If not, do they want to come along?

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