Advice for Single Business Professionals: 6 Winning Tips to Turn a Business Contact into a Date

You’re at a networking event or in a business meeting and an attractive person walks into the room. You feel your pulse racing and something starts to stir in the middle part of your body. Not to worry, it’s not your lunch coming back up. You’re feeling the vibe – the “I want to bag you” vibe.

It’s difficult to turn a business contact into a date. You met over very business-like circumstances and you could ruin a possible joint venture, partnership or alliance if you make the wrong move. A contract may not be signed if you ask for a date and the person just isn’t interested.

To avoid ruining a business relationship with an ill-timed request for something on the wild side, follow these six winning tips to turn a business contact into a date.

  1. Listen for clues about their marital status. When you’re at a networking event or when you sit in a meeting, the person chatting will always give clues as to whether they’re married, attached or single. Often, the person will say “My wife and I….,” or “My husband thinks….” You could avoid embarrassment by taking the time to listen for these not-so-subtle clues.

  2. Explain your intention for meeting up without sounding like a jock or jockette. At a networking event or in a business meeting, you should always have your professional hat on. Don’t say, “I think you’re hot. Let’s hook up for a drink.” Instead, tell the person that you find them interesting and you’d like to talk more at another time. By saying the word “interesting,” the person will see your request as harmless since it could just mean that you want to learn more about his or her business.

  3. Suggest meeting up for coffee. Ask for the business card and explain that you would like to follow-up. Then arrange a meeting over a low-pressure drink. Don’t schedule your first encounter over lunch or dinner. Because of how long it takes to consume a hot plate of food, if the person turns out to be boring, you’re stuck wasting away precious time. On top of that, meeting over lunch or dinner can turn out to be expensive, especially if the person has a healthy appetite. Opt for coffee instead because by the time you finish your cup of brew, you may decide to end the meeting there or make an appointment for a future get-together.

  4. Keep the paws off. When you meet for the first time over coffee, you still have no idea if your feelings of attraction will be reciprocated. Avoid becoming touchy feely after the handshake. Instead, keep everything professional and treat the person as a business contact.

  5. Ease your way into personal questions. Remember, you’re still trying to find out if the person is even attracted to you. Keep your questions professional, opting to ask about business goals instead of sexual conquests. A rule of thumb is to ask 1 personal question for every 3 professional ones. If you’ve asked the person about their business goals for the current year, who their target audience is and whether they’re going to expand, you now have permission to ask a personal question. Your personal questions should revolve around these issues:

    • Where he or she grew up
    • What’s his or her favourite movie
    • What type of music he or she listens to
    • What is his or her parent’s nationality
    • What books is he or she currently reading
    • What is his or her favorite spot in the world
  6. Ask for the date. After following steps 1 to 5, if you’re feeling the vibe, ask for what you want – a real date. If the person says, “Yes,” you’ve scored big time. It means that your gal-dar or guy-dar is bang on. If the person says, “No,” take the rejection in stride. Just tell the person that you misinterpreted their feelings and put your professional hat back on. Shake hands and tell the person it was nice getting acquainted. Then, go home and cry.

Just because you met the person at a networking event or in a business meeting, doesn’t mean you turn off your attraction radar and become a eunuch or a monk. Instead, follow the tips above and you’ll have more success of turning your business contact into a date, and less chance of getting rejected for crossing the line.