Speed networking is a great way to make lots of new contacts, expand your personal network and generate business leads. In the short one to one meetings you quickly establish a connection and a basis for a relationship before you move on to the next contact. The beauty of speed networking is that you and the audience are there to make contacts. It is fast, furious and extremely focussed.
I have been careful not to mention how much business you will generate from speed networking. This is because in the short introduction time that you are allocated it is unlikely to meet anyone that you will do business with let alone get a signature on a deal.
So what is the point of speed networking?
1. It is a structured networking opportunity. It forces you to work the room. No spotting someone you already know and ‘networking’ with them for the rest of the event.
2. Due to the time constraint, the ‘small talk’ that takes time and energy is kept to a minimum ensuring you meet many rather than just a few.
3. The attention on the elevator speech is paramount. Speed networking gives you an opportunity to practice your pitches. And practice makes perfect doesn’t it?
The thing is that networking doesn’t stop at the end of the event. The all important relationship building exercise happens afterwards. What did you find out about your fellow speed networkers. Where do they fit into your strategic networking plan. Are they collaborators, competitors, influencers, suppliers or a potential client?
How do you follow up? How can you help them? What can you send them? When do you meet up with them for a more constructive meeting? This is the most important element of the speed networking event. Without following through and following up … you rely on the other parties to do the job. Mmm! Interesting.