I’ve done speed networking thrice. Note, this is absolutely different from speed dating. That’s a no-no for me and in the same category is blind-dating. In my hemisphere relationships are special and need to take their natural course, when you are not looking they find you.
Ok, back to speed networking. The first time was when I was out of the country and was meeting a group of creatives from Sub Saharan Africa for a pop up event. During the speed networking, some of the accents were extremely hard to catch especially for Africans in French speaking countries. Given the speed of networking the conversations turned into a tornado in no time. I met at least six people and out of the six I still check in with two of them to date.
The second instance was when I was in a church youth group and we decided we needed to bond. We’d known each other for a few years but some of the guys took it as a chance to ask some very intrusive questions. So the most recent speed networking gig was all things business and was all about representing each other’s businesses.
The setup was such that we were in different tables and in each table you chose an ambassador to go represent you to the larger group and then bring you potential customers interested in your product. The trick then became-all of us had just met and if your business is not clear and concise your ambassador was going to miss-represent you.
Two things emerged. One; some ambassadors were everyone’s favourite and almost went out to represent a majority of the businesses and came back with at least 7-10 business contacts. Which leads me to two; you might be selling bottled water or dealing in flight charter, the deal breaker while running your own outfit is that you have to learn to market you business well; elevator pitch it and force some money out of your client’s pockets.
My ambassador was everyone’s favourite, I got six contacts, emailed three of them a few days later and got replies which might amount to something solid in the near future.