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Party On!

If you plan to party, party with a plan.

The annual weeklong International Trademark Association meeting is drawing to a close. This year, INTA was held in San Diego.

Having had various levels of involvement over the years with clients attending INTA, I can confirm that while these meetings have a business factor, the real focus is on parties.

Parties are a big deal. And at INTA, they can be a huge deal with matching budgets and return on investment expectations.

Some of these parties are staged as intimate get-togethers while others are overpopulated and over-the-top to the point where what started as an elegant affair ends up heaving like a nightclub.

A client once commented to me, “You don’t like parties.” My response: “I like parties provided there’s a supporting business strategy and follow-up procedures are in place.”

The point being that if you plan to party, plan to party on.

So for partygoers and mostly for party-throwers, before you forget whom you met at any given wingding, here are a few follow-up tips that might be helpful:

  • If you didn’t review your firm’s guest list of confirmed party attendees, do so now.
  • Mark the names of people you recall meeting.
  • Send each of them an email thanking them for attending and mention your pleasure at having met them. If you recall snippets of the conversation you shared, refer to them. Be sure to make your note personal since nothing says “I don’t care” more than receiving a message that starts with Dear [square brackets].
  • If a specific topic was discussed at length, find relevant supporting material and include it with your message.
  • Schedule follow-ups to remain top-of-mind. For key contacts, follow-ups should happen once a month. For other contacts, follow-ups can happen once a quarter or every six months.
  • Subsequent follow-ups can be as simple as adding a new message when forwarding your original post-party email. This technique will provide a reference point to help trigger the recipient’s memory of you and along with providing context, which will help them craft a graceful response.

After all, that’s what any successful business development event is for: to provide a shared experience that enables the nurturing of mutually beneficial connections.

Heather Suttie is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on legal market strategy and management of legal services firms.

For 25 years, she has advised leaders of premier law firms and legal service providers worldwide — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — on innovative strategies pertaining to business, markets, management, and clients.

The result is accelerated performance achieved through a distinctive one of one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage leading to greater market share, revenue, and profits.

The effect is accomplishment of the prime objective — To Win.

Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or

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