I've worked hard to be good at what Keith Ferrazzi labeled the deep bump - meaningful, high-intensity exchanges that prompt follow-up in a future 1-on-1 conversation.
Listen, engage, write down notes on the back of so-and-so's business card about pertinant details (for those not blessed with photographic memory, this last is absolutely essential).
Skip the conversational macros that dominate standard conference/party chatter "what do you do? how do you know [host]? Isn't this a lovely party/conference?" and go for the stuff that *matters* to the person you are speaking with.
Sleeping in on weekends seem to inspire particularly vivid dreams.
I am at party at an opulent mansion blanketed in fresh snow. Dinner guests are exchanging conversations, and I move with the crowd, turning casual introductions into dialogue, exchanges of contact information, "this isn't the best place to talk about that - let's meet up for lunch next week to discuss this further ..."
Active listening, engaging, remembering details. I'm holding six business cards and mental notes of six conversations I need to continue in the following week when I notice ... HIM. The Networking Nightmare Guy, with the too-loud laugh, shoving his business card into the hands of others and not listening to a damn word anyone else says. How did this clown get invited to a classy soiree like this? For the love of God, why is he wearing his bluetooth headset at a party? He pushes his card into my hand along with a overly-aggressive handshake before saying his name.
I look down at the card and see his grinning mug covering half the card. A Realtor. I wish I could I was surprised.
I nod politely - no point in being rude or uncivil - and move on.
He *follows* me. He must have seen me engage with a few people in 'deep bump' dialogue and is looking to attach himself like a remora fish, trawling my wake for scraps. I send mental 'go away' commands in vain, as he tags along while I greeted an old friend and began to chat with her.
Go away, go away, go away.
Clearly, my psychic powers are as underdeveloped in my dream-world as in my real-world self. Oh, for the power of Jesse Custer right about now.
During a lull in conversation, I flinched as I felt this guy sieze the opportunity to wedge in
"And if you ever need to buy or sell a property ... " as he pushes a card into my friend's hand.
All right, that's it.
I'm going to put my drink down and break party protocol and tell this guy to shove off ...
And then I awoke.
In cool light of midmorning reflection, the venue, faces and other elements of the dream appear to be a patchwork composite of recent events - some amplified, others softened.
On habit, I opened my molskine notepad to jot down follow up notes on the six converations before I crossed paths with Realtor Guy, only to realize with a rueful laugh they were all from a dream.
Dreams are for kids.