You’ve bought into social prospecting.
You’ve found that museum opening/charity gala/country club cocktail reception that attracts the movers and shakers. There are about 200 of them in the room! You’ve read all about becoming part of their world. It’s time wade in, “grip and grin” and make those social contacts.
It makes lots of sense to survey the landscape, determine who’s there and how they are behaving.
1. In the room vs. in the mood
An advisor in Northern California explained everyone in attendance is not necessarily supporting the event. Let’s assume it’s a museum opening sponsored by a major bank. The bank president might be on the museum board. Lots of the other folks in dark suits may be there because they were press ganged into it. This isn’t their first choice of activity. Someone else might be present because their spouse is heavily involved. He would rather be watching sports on TV. These folks are in the room. The bank president is in the mood.
Tip: If they keep looking at their watch, they are probably an “in the room” person. Try to find some “In the mood” people.
2. How are they dressed?
Most of us wear the business uniform. People judge us by appearance. The Devil Wears Prada had a great line: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Don’t write off casually dressed folks too quickly, especially on the West Coast. They may be wearing jeans and a blue blazer because they are relaxed and aren’t too concerned about fitting in.
Tip: Try to recognize the movers and shakers you want to meet. Spend some time with the well dressed, casual folks too.
3. What are they talking to?
That smartly dressed person – they are making the rounds. That might be the host of the party, sponsor of the show or executive director of the museum welcoming guests, making them feel at home. Stand in the right place and they may come to you.
Tip: If your sixth sense tell you this is probably your host, tactfully put yourself in their path.