A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
I am attempting our first ever speed networking event in May and for some reason I cannot wrap my mind around how this should work…Anyway, if anyone does these events frequently and with success would you mind chatting with me or giving me a few pointers?
Speed networking is a great opportunity to ensure everyone at the event gets to meet with everyone else, albeit briefly. It calls upon attendees to polish up their “hook” and connect with people immediately or move on. The other benefit is that you’re never left talking to someone for too long.
Speed Networking Tips from Chambers
The More the Merrier
The Titusville Chamber of Commerce worked with four other chambers to create a speed networking with members from all of the chambers. This was nice because the members of each chamber got to meet new people and pitch to an entirely different crowd.
Decide on a Time Limit
Chamber professionals rang in about their time limits spent with each networker. Times ranged from 2-4 minutes before some sort of bell or chime rang to let everyone know it was time to switch.
It’s easy to go blank and not know what to say when you know you only have 2 minutes. If you stall or can’t think of anything to say, you might not get anything in at all. That’s why the New Castle Henry County Chamber of Commerce provides table top cards to remind people how to structure their introductions including times allotted and a possible question for the networkers if nothing else comes to mind.
Finally, some speed networking events allow you to select to network with people who meet your needs. There are two ways to do this. In the first, a list of attendees is published ahead of time letting you know who will be there and allowing people to sign up to spend a few minutes with them. The other option allows attendees to present a problem to the chamber that they would like help solving. Then people can sign up who can help. For instance, someone might be planning a trip to Disney. People who can help plan, insure, provide advice, and other necessary travel arrangements would sign up to speak with that person.
If you have some ideas about speed networking, or would like to know more from people who have run a successful event, join the speed networking conversation.