Take a chance! Invite a Twitter follower to lunch.

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Tom, Bridget, and Allen at Zov’s Bistro 8/21/13

Even after all of these years, it puzzles me that the commercial real estate (#CRE) and architecture, engineering, and construction (#AEC) communities are still relatively small on social media. It should come as no surprise that whenever I happen upon someone from those fields, I practically do somersaults in my office.  To find someone that’s local to boot, is virtually miraculous.

This summer (I’m not even sure how at this point) I came upon the Twitter feed of Allen Buchanan and, like social people do, we tweeted back and forth, read each other’s blogs, etc. He is an active blogger and started a short video series called Tuesday Traffic Tips, too. Naturally, the we hit it off over the geeky stuff.

I noticed that he is very detail-oriented, very much like Tom. [Cue: Matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof] I just knew I had to get these two together in one room. So, in a moment of bravery, I impulsively tweeted:

Which was responded to with this tweet:

Yes, this was all public save a direct message (DM) for the actual time and location.

I made a reservation but was all butterflies. I normally don’t arrange lunch meetings and am not good at meeting new people. I pestered Tom to drive over there extra early just in case.

As it turned out, Allen arrived just as we walked in. Handshakes and smiles all around, we were seated, and the conversation naturally flowed.

It’s easy to forget that most of the requisite small talk (the butterfly-inducing part) has already been done on Twitter. When you meet them in person, you can jump right into a genuine, valuable conversation. In other words, I met someone I already knew. At that point, it’s easy to introduce the third party (Tom). All I had to do is let the two of them talk shop and the lunch was a win.

Needless to say, it was an enjoyable lunch. The bonus is that we started a referral relationship that can possibly be mutually beneficial, since we both work with commercial owners and tenants.

Are you looking for a broker? Allen’s ideal audience is “an owner or an occupant of a warehouse or manufacturing building in Southern California in the 20,000 – 70,000 square foot range.”

Allen Buchanan can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedInYouTube, Pinterest, and his blogOh and his listings can be found here.

Have you invited a Twitter follower to lunch or coffee? How did it go?

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