Think Tank Boss and Think Tank Boss's #2 have prior engagements. They're both pros at this sort of thing, but I'm not. Oh, there's plenty of "chatting up" that goes on in academe, especially at conferences, but it's different ...
... or, maybe not so different, as I'm sitting here thinking about it. In academe, you "chat up" people whom you want something from: attention, recognition, information, insight, a reference, a collaboration, a commitment. I guess the difference is that in academe, I more or less knew what I was talking about, but now I only have what I would consider a fairly superficial understanding of the issues.
So, strategy: Get the OTHER person to talk, establish a few points of common ground surrounding New Think Tank's areas of interest, suggest the possibility of working together, exchange business cards (we just got our new business cards for New Think Tank the other day!), and see if lobbyist/executive might want to set up a meeting. And then go "chat up" somebody else.
Huh. It's a actually a skill I'd like to get more practice at. It's valuable here in Crapitol City in ways that it isn't/wasn't in academe. In academe, what you know counts more. Here, it's who you know.