This article first appeared in Beyond Bespoke
If you're taking clients to Royal Ascot this year, you'll need more than the champagne and the race card.
Mixing your guests and getting everyone chatting are the vital ingredients at any social gathering. With a bit of forethought, you can do a great deal to create engagement amongst your clients. Here's a simple way to do it if you don't have prior experience.
Create a map of common interests. In the centre of a piece of paper draw a circle and write Royal Ascot in it. Around this Royal Ascot circle draw a circle for each of the guests and write their name in it. The circles need to have plenty of space around them. Now write down key things about each of your guests around their individual circles in a random manner. These will act as hooks for the start of conversations. Try to find the less obvious things.
Look at the content around the circles and draw a line between any guest's circle that looks like a pleasing match of interest with another. Do this for all your guests - you'll end up with a tangle of lines. It's good if you can remember all the possible topics of conversation, but that usually takes a lot of effort and practice. Instead keep the paper for the day at Royal Ascot so that you have it ready when you need it.
As people start to assemble, make sure that everyone has been introduced to everyone else - however long it takes, do it. It's a courtesy which your guests will appreciate and it's the height of bad manners to ignore this simple ritual.
This technique works for guests who have met previously as well as for people who have never met before. Sometimes meeting people again - with the pressure to remember their names and what they told you last time - can be far more awkward than meeting someone for the first time. Help your guests find common ground and they'll relax. Relaxed guests will pay dividends when it comes to doing business.
Rachel Fay is a Professional Introducer connecting people at Conferences, Receptions, Networking Events and Private Parties. You can contact Rachel on 020 8743 1249 firstname.lastname@example.org