Speed networking is taking the business world by storm—and it’s not hard to see why. You meet more people, are able to promote your business to a much larger audience and don’t get stuck talking to the same few people all night. Due to the structured format, it’s ideal for people who are a bit unsure when it comes to a room full of strangers and is a great way to pin point exactly which people in the room you would like to connect with post event.
As such, attending a speed networking event takes a bit more thought and preparation than a traditional networking event. Coming prepared, with best practices in mind, can help ease your nerves so you can focus on creating meaningful connections.
Here are our top 7 speed networking tips to try at our next event.
1. Prepare an elevator speech.
Typically our events provide approx 5 mins for each pair to meet and learn about each other’s businesses. You take it in turns and have 2 mins each to introduce yourself. The best way to maximise your time is to know exactly what you are going to say beforehand so the other person instantly understands what it is that you do. Here are some suggestions to include in your pitch:
- Your name
- Name of your business
- What your business does
- How it benefits your clients
- Brief outline of who your ideal target customer is.
2. Come with the correct materials.
This includes a pen, paper to take notes, and business cards at the very least. No matter how good you think your memory might be, it’s difficult to remember details about people you’re just meeting—especially at networking events where you’re trying to meet as many new people as possible. Taking notes is a good way to ensure you’re able to retain information. Plus, you’ll be able to send much more personalized follow-up emails.
3. Dress to Impress.
First impressions definitely count when it comes to representing your business. If you want to appear professional you need to reflect that in your choice of clothing. If you’re ever unsure of the proper attire to wear, keep in mind it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
4. Be a Resource First
The best networkers always ask “What can I do for you?” before even thinking about “What can you do for me?”. Relationships are built on trust, and if you give the impression it’s a one way street, you will find it difficult to make real connections. Think about ways you can help others, and they’ll help you in return.
5. Ask questions.
If you get time, or even after the speed networking segment is finished, ask them questions about their business. This shows you are interested and they will remember you for it. Asking lots of questions ensures a two-way conversation and is the best way to get to know the real person behind the business.
6. Be yourself.
There’s only one you and your skills and experience are unique. Don’t shortchange yourself and pretend to be someone you’re not. People appreciate authenticity and it’s key to cultivating meaningful connections with the people around you.
7. Follow up.
Unfortunately this is the part people tend to forget about. We cannot stress enough the importance of following up after attending one of our speed networking events. Our suggestions for continuing the conversation are:
- Add them on LinkedIn
- Look up their FB page and Follow them
- Send them a thank you email and suggest you catch up for a coffee chat within the next 2 weeks.
- and if they are great fit for your own business, subscribe to their newsletter to keep up to date and learn more about what they do.
Keep an eye on our Events Calendar for our next Speed Networking event where you can practice these tips and be well on your way to becoming an expert Speed Networker!