Speed Networking: What It Is and How to Do It

Networking can be challenging enough— who to connect with, what to say, what not to say, when to follow up. The key to successful speed networking is cutting through the traditional small talk, and quickly determining how both parties can assist or benefit one another.

Below are six tips for being an effective speed networker:

Use your time wisely.
Your conversations with each new connection are kept short and sweet so you can meet a lot of different people. On Network Roulette, you only have THREE minutes to make your connection. Don’t spend your time with long introductions or niceties such as “Hello, how are you?”, “Nice to meet you,” etc. Get straight to business by asking “How can I help you?”

Know what you need and what you have to offer. Don’t be vague.
Go into each speed networking event that you attend with what you want to get out of it in mind. On Network Roulette, we provide you with ‘Looking/Providing’ fields that you should always fill out before the event. Fill these fields out every time. They’ll force you to stay focused and make sure that you and your random match know instantly if there is potential to help each other.

Don’t be afraid to pass.
Let’s be realistic. You’re not always going to be matched with the perfect person. If you are matched up with someone who does not seem like a good connection, don’t be afraid to move on. Your time is valuable, and so is theirs. Thank them for their time and move on to the next match.

Be a connector.
You may not be able to help everyone but you probably know someone else who can. If you think that a person you have been matched with would be valuable so someone else in your network, introduce them. People with love you for introducing quality people to them and being likable is an important trait for every networker to have.

Be authentic.
“Say what really interests you, not what you think should interest you,” says Sarah Peck, Brazen community leader.

Always follow up.
The biggest mistake that people make is not following up. It means you’ve wasted your time. Go into every speed networking event that you attend understanding that the quick conversations you are having are only the beginning. Building a strong, long-lasting relationship with another professional requires more than that.

If you’re speed networking on Network Roulette, follow up by becoming a Fan of the person you connected with. When they fan you back, exchange private messages. Or you can just exchange emails during your 3-minute chat.

Just don’t wait until there are 10 seconds left to do it!

So, my advice is to prepare to judge and be judged. Cutting out the  rapport-building may seem unnatural at first, but sometimes time just simply won’t allow. Be prepared to cut to the chase and communicate your message, while remaining an active listener.

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