Speed networking events are growing in popularity and we often get asked how to get the most out of our events. We put together this quick list of tips to ensure you maximize your time while networking with others. If you are part of other organizations that could benefit from hosting a targeted speed networking event, send us a note!
The structure of a speed networking event is entirely different than a traditional event and the fast-paced nature of the event means you need to be prepared when you come in the door. There is minimal time for small talk during speed networking, as you have a predetermined amount of time to meet with each person before moving onto the next one.
Prepare yourself by crafting a 30-second commercial that clearly delivers the message you want to communicate. You will be able to extrapolate on your conversation but come with a clear goal(s) and message in mind that you want to convey to others. A good introductory note will usually include the following parts:
Your Name (seems simple, but don't forget it!)
Your Title & Company
The values you create for your clients – You can provide an example of a typical problem and how you provided an effective solution.
A brief explanation of your goals and what you hope to achieve from the meeting
Be A Resource First:
If you go into each meeting with a "me first" attitude, you are not setting yourself up for success. You will gain a lot more by exploring how you can be a resource for others to help them achieve their goals. This approach allows you to establish trust/confidence from the other party and will open them up to sharing their resources and information with you. It is a win-win situation for everyone and gives you a foundation for a long-term business relationship.
Be Honest and Respectful:
Communicate openly with your conversation partners about your goals and be respectful of their time to share the same information with you. Listening is the biggest part of networking and effectively exploring synergies. Listen first, talk second.
We recommend taking as many notes as possible without altering your ability to have a conversation. Scribble down important details from your conversation as it happens and create a brief summary once the conversation is competed. Try and jot down a few ways that you can help the person across from you, who may be a good contact for them, which of your goals could be achieved from connecting with them and how best to form an alliance.
The most important part of any networking event is to follow up with the contacts you met. If you fail to follow-up, you just waste your time, as well as theirs! Good notes will make the follow up a much easier process, as you can draw upon information from your conversation to craft an email, give a phone call or schedule an in-person meeting.
Always Be Improving:
Once the event is completed and you've had time to follow up or review your notes, create a list of pros/cons of the event. What went right? What can you do better? This is incredibly helpful to sharpen your skills for the next event. Continuous improvement is continuous, so always look for ways to improve your personal brand and your ability to be an effective connection for others.
Most importantly, have fun! This is an exciting opportunity to make new connections in a structured environment.
If you have questions, please feel free to send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.