Speed networking is becoming more and more popular these days, especially for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to optimize their networking efforts. If you haven’t heard of this creative form of networking, let me explain. In speed networking there are two groups of people facing each other (across tables, in circles, etc.). Once everyone has a partner, there is a set time (anywhere from one to five minutes) for each partner set to become acquainted. Once time is up, one group stays in place and the other moves one position. Then everyone does it all again. Think of it kind of like musical chairs for business owners – except that everyone wins!
1. Before the Event:
For a successful speed networking experience, you need to equip yourself:
- Research on the event itself: what is the purpose, who will be there, and why do you want to be there?
- Your elevator pitch: Unlike a traditional networking event, at speed networking your time is extremely limited so you need to make a big impact – FAST! To be safe, work on a one minute pitch and practice it before the event! Your goal is to clearly and concisely explain who you are, what you do, and the benefits you offer.
- Back up questions: “What types of clients do you work with?” “Why do you do what you do?” “Who is your dream client?” Just in case you face a partner who is not as prepared, these are some great conversation starters!
- Your Game Face: First impressions are everything! Don’t skimp on the cleaners, the shoe shine, or the manicure!
- Plenty of Business Cards: it amazes me how many people show up to networking events without business cards! If you are not prepared enough to bring cards to a networking event, how confident will people be in hiring or referring you?
2. At the Event
- No Hard Selling: this is about building relationships not making a sale!
- Be Interested: listen and ask questions that prove you heard what they said.
- Take Notes: this is part of being interested. And, it will help you keep track of everyone you meet.
- Be Thankful: at the end of each round, thank your partner, smile, shake their hand, and ask for their card.
3. After the Event
- Follow up with everyone.
- Everyone says this because it works. The person who follows up promptly is the one most fondly remembered. And remember, the best way to follow up is the way that you will actually DO!
There you have it – all the tips and tools you need to have a successful networking event. Happy Networking!
Join us Wednesday, May 7 for Speed Networking – More Details