Want to network fast and easy?

by

Luann Feehan, Vice President of Membership

Have you ever tried speed networking before?

Let me share a bit about speed networking with you. Speed networking, is derived from the concept of speed dating, which has its pluses and minuses.

On one hand, it’s a great chance to meet lots of people in a short time. On the other hand, it can move quickly and leave you confused with a stack of business cards. 

This is the perfect way to maximize meeting people. And, for those of you in sales, it’s better than cold calling because you are sitting in front of a human that will talk to you for at least one minute. You learn about businesses in the metro area and they learn about you.

Meeting people is easy in a structured environment that lets you begin and end conversations at the ring of a bell. As people switch seats to meet the next person, it’s easy to get right to the nitty-gritty of business and what each other’s company is about.

You’re also forced to make a snap decisions about whether or not you want to take the relationship to a deeper level.

It’s like regular networking, but in a hurry.

The other difference is that at regular events, you don’t know how many people you’ll meet. In speed networking, you’re guaranteed to meet people. We consistently provide 25 meetings at each Face2Face.  And, the fast pace and quick changes of partners ensures everyone gets equal mingling time.

So how do you get the most out of speed networking? Here are some tips:

Invest in your first impression: If ever there were a test of how people respond to your outer appearance, this is it. Be well-groomed and professionally dressed. There are no second chances to make a positive first impression. Look enthusiastic to be there and smile.

Bring plenty of business cards and have them handy. This should be obvious, but people still forget them.

Take notes: Keep a notepad with you to jot down reminders as you’re talking with people just as you would in any business meeting. This is one obvious difference from regular networking functions, where carrying paper and taking notes during a conversation would be inappropriate. Be sure to capture who you want to follow-up with, and why? I like to make a note about what the person was wearing to refresh my memory too.

Be ready to communicate quickly and clearly what you do and what you have to offer. Complicated or long-winded explanations just confuse people. Do you know your elevator speech?

Know what you’re looking for and how the other person can help you. Are you seeking new customers, new suppliers, or something else? You won’t know what fits unless you know what you need. This is especially useful if you’re meeting with someone whom you don’t think can directly impact your business. Maybe they’re directly connected to someone that will be useful.

Listen: Speed networking, just like regular networking, is a two-way exercise. When in doubt, ask questions rather than talking about you. You’ll learn more, and that can help you decide who to follow up with and why. Keep your mind open to possibilities and consider how you can help the other person.

If you haven’t attended a Face2Face speed networking function yet…well…what are you waiting for! We conduct one almost every month on the First Friday starting at 8:30 a.m. sharp.

Come on…join us. It’s fast…easy…and fun!

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