When Tech Meetings Turn Out to be Dates

 An actual wedding band, custom-made for a  Microsoft Game Studios  Software Development Engineer. 

An actual wedding band, custom-made for a Microsoft Game Studios Software Development Engineer. 

Let's set the scene: You've just attended the "hottest" tech talk on Artificial Intelligence, and a lot of intriguing new ideas are flowing through the audience. They've lined up to indulge the speakers, and everyone else is mingling enthusiastically.

Scanning the crowd, everyone is matched up, flapping their business cards and pulling up responsive portfolios and LinkedIn apps, like quickdraw. You lock eyes with someone across the room, and conversation ensues. It's great, they have a new project they're struggling on a certain area for, and it turns out you know that area really well. Cards flap, websites flow, LinkedIns link. You arrange to meet for a beer and discuss it further. 

The day arrives, and you're armed with a bit more research. Approaching the pub, you shoot them a message, "How can I spot you?" A reply comes through, "I'll be the handsome guy sitting at the bar." You stop at the door. 

Is that something you waive off? Walk in and give them a chance to redeem their stupid joke? Their confidence is positive. They're probably nervous. It can be politely clarified in the conversation. It hangs in the air, you have trouble keeping the conversation on track, and you walk away wiser.

"How might we prevent that?" In my case, I bought a fake wedding band. Where have you drawn a line to make professional distinctions?