The Elements

By Judith Bowman   |   September 26, 2017

Deriving Business Connections from Social Events

Categories: Protocol, Social Networking

When so many of us will traverse in an out of companies and continents the need for connections derived from business-related social events and social settings becomes indispensable, something upon which the savvy business professional will capitalize. Doing so will enhance your business reputation as one who is socially savvy, business-wise and well-connected.

There was a time when it was considered poor form to engage in self-promotion or “talk shop” at any purely social setting such as a wedding or an intimate dinner in someone’s home. But times have changed and in today’s ever-shifting world the lines between business and social rules of engagement have blurred. It is common, astute – even admirable to network and reap business opportunities from social occasions. There are many ways to do this boorishly, and if you do not defer to rules governing protocol you may run the risk of being tagged a “social climber.

The judicious individual is able to leverage social settings and connections established there to advance business relationships. Potential new business opportunities may indeed, be subtly ferreted out and obtained from any purely social setting while perhaps acquiring a few new friends along the way!

Hence, while all your hard-hitting business instincts clamor to make the overture and offer or request a business card, resist, desist, refrain. Alas, it is “never wrong” to offer your calling card versus business card and quietly say you would like to follow-up with your new connection at a later time. The mere fact that you have a calling card shows you as upscale, proactive, upscale, forward-thinking.

That said, the way you go about this connection is central to the way you are perceived and received:
Ask your host after the event to connect you. Having your host serve as the conduit further legitimizes you and will no doubt delight your host knowing they were able to help forge a connection.

Mastering the Art of the Follow-up

Follow-up with a brief email or personal call and handwritten note. Keep initial contact brief and reflective back to the event. The event is your common denominator… the one you both attended, where you met, where you shared the fact that you both always cry i.e. at weddings, where you enjoyed the beautiful music, laughed at the silly toasts, etc.

Make the conversation, your curiosity and excitement all about that event you experienced together. Look for points of connectivity with the other person through the prism of the event… where you both met. Then, explore business interests and be certain to underscore “what’s in it for them” i.e. “I have a few marketing ideas I’d like to share with you.”

Remember, it is not about the business it’s about the connection. Determine their receptivity level and proceed accordingly. If not, you’ll ‘always have Paris!’

“A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.”

– John D. Rockefeller

Social Savvy is so termed for good cause. Business profit stemming from any purely social event requires finesse, tact and discretion. Although there are times an impulse-move might work however avant soif! (be careful!) Social savvy is an art and cannot be overstated.


Judith Bowman
Business Protocol

Judith Bowman founded Protocol Consultants International in 1993 and has prospered to become an established Business Protocol expert, educator, corporate speaker, and renowned authority in the field of Professional Presence, Dining Savvy, International Protocol Awareness, and personal and professional development. Ms. Bowman also provides Protocol Certification. She is a graduate of Boston College and has pursued studies in Effective Business Communication at Harvard University.

Ms. Bowman speaks to critical interpersonal communication skills and shares specific nuances advantageous to exemplary conduct in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive global work environment. She showcases everyday business situations and shows professionals how to leverage these as opportunities to demonstrate respect while earning respect – while showing you know “the difference” while making a difference to stand apart and outclass the competition!

Ms. Bowman has authored two business protocol books: “Don’t Take the Last Donut…” (Career Press) presently sold in 16 countries, translated in 14 languages, and her new book, “How to Stand Apart @ Work …” She has authored a weekly Everyday Etiquette column syndicated throughout New England for ten years by the Pulitzer Prize winning Eagle Tribune Publishing Company. Internationally, she authored a Business Protocol column for the prestigious Noblesse Magazine, China. She presently writes a weekly Business Protocol column for Boston Herald newspapers and has a coordinating weekly radio segment, “A Protocol Moment” on Herald Radio.
She also writes a monthly Fabulous Woman series which features truly fabulous women who have shattered the glass ceiling and has been featured in Leader to Leader, March, 2015.

Bowman has produced a series of support products which include: Executive Etiquette/First Impressions DVD, DINING 101 DVD and Protocol Training DVD – from her on-line How to Stand Apart series.

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