SPEED NETWORKING is a networking event with an accelerated twist. The program is specifically designed to allow attendees the quick and entertaining opportunity to introduce themselves and pitch their company to other people in business.
The best way to make speed networking work for you is to approach it strategically. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the next speed networking event that comes your way:
Come well prepared
During a speed networking session it is extremely important to be well prepared, efficient and goal oriented. There is very little time for small talk in contrast to other networking sessions. Prepare yourself by setting goals and outcomes that allow you to deliver the message that you want to communicate. Don’t forget to bring a stack of business cards and preferably aa folder or one-pager that clearly describes your company and what you offerings are.
Know what you’ll say about yourself and your company.
Keep it short. As you do not know the attention span, nor the depth of industry knowledge the people you are meeting will have. “Hi, my name is…., I do this type of work at this type of company and we serve these types of customers.”
Know what to ask about their company/business.
It may be safe to assume that the other person hasn’t prepped as well as you have. You may get someone who is bumbling along trying to explain the details of what they do, or you may have someone reciting their life story…either way you need to take back this short meeting. Have a few questions ready to interject such as “who are your customers?” or “what type of clients are you looking for?” This will help your ill prepared networking date save some face and be able to provide you with helpful information during your initial brief time together.
If there is time, ask more about them.
You’ll want to find out about the association, how long they’ve been a member, what has been the best benefit (business, referrals, expanding the network, volunteering) to them? This will help you get an understanding of the organization from several different people in a short period of time and help you decide if it may be a good group for you to join.
Say thanks and mean it.
When it’s time to end your meeting and move along, shake hands and genuinely thank the person for their time.
Follow up with all those you met.
Some may be a great client, a great connector or great business associate, you never know. Make the effort to drop each a brief email to tell them how good it was to have met. Continue to nurture the relationship into the future.