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You’ve been invited to an event. It will include a number of friends and colleagues, along with their spouses. As well, you know there will be professionals from the business community, some of whom could well be prospects for your services.

We have all had occasion to attend a social function. As a business owner, you carry your business hat with you everywhere you go. After all, who knows where the next potential business opportunity will arise? It is always difficult to know how to handle this. Check out the tips below on how to manage a social event for best results:

1.Enjoy the experience. When you’re invited to a social function, focus on enjoying the evening. This is an opportunity to meet friends and enjoy life, so don’t expect to use this as an opportunity to directly promote business.

2. Develop relationships. Remember that every new contact, even in a social context, is an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism, integrity and respect for others. Be on your best behavior as you enjoy the event.

3. What about business? Seek to develop relationships from a personal perspective. Stay away from business topics unless they evolve as a natural part of the conversation. At that point you can briefly discuss business and quickly move back to a social atmosphere.

4. Communicate effectively. Make your business communication more effective by having a short statement that identifies your target market, the top benefit of your product/service and the result of doing business with you.

5. When they want to talk business. If a conversation partner wants to move to a more serious business discussion while at a social event, suggest you get together after or the next day. This takes the pressure off and allows both of you to relax.

6. When you want to talk business. You will identify qualified prospects as part of your social contacts. Do not try to solidify a business relationship while at a social function. Rather, use this as an opportunity to develop the relationship and follow up later.

7. Creating a follow up opportunity. As the evening or event continues and your relationship develops, you will find that opportunities arise to suggest a follow up contact. You can then easily get or give a phone number and confirm a time.

8. Be pro-active. If a business opportunity does arise through your social atmosphere, don’t hesitate to follow up. Many successful business transactions have been the result of a social contact. Follow up within 48 hours for maximum benefit.

9. Don’t presume. One of the most common mistakes in following up after a social contact is to presume that the other person has agreed to buy. Reality is that she/he probably needs more information. Be prepared for this by linking back to your conversation and their interest before diving into a sales presentation.

10. Leverage personal contacts. The trust and rapport generated from a social contact can greatly enhance your business potential, but don’t expect that this will automatically lead you to doing business. be prepared to keep the relationship growing until the business component evolves as a natural extension.

11. The three secrets to leveraging a social contact :
• Make the conversation meaningful and memorable.
• Confirm the reason for following up.
• Re-connect within 24 hours

Remember we buy people first, ideas next and things last. Making your social experience more personal and your conversation more personable will always be a precursor to building your business and accelerating your professional success.