A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of participating in a speed networking exercise with Firestorm that really knocked my socks off. This week, I am going to go a little more in-depth about my experiences with the event, and some small insights as a beginner.
When I walked in, the room was entirely packed to the brim and I had trouble navigating where to go. Everyone was extremely welcoming, which I greatly appreciated, but I still felt like a fish out of water. We mingled for about 15 minutes and were then told to take our seats. It then began. Three minutes per conversation, one person, go. In this speedy three-minute tango, each person has 90-seconds to give you their best pitch on their business. After that 90-second mark, a whistle is blown, and the floor is given to the other person.
After the first couple of people that I may have frozen on, I was suddenly in my element. This methodology of conversation, crazy as it may sound, was almost natural. It cut out the white noise and made you focus on why each of you were there.
I highly recommend speed networking. I met a lot of great people with great leads, great ideas for partnerships, and overall good contacts. If you’re afraid (like I was), go with the flow of the event. One effective tool that I saw others utilizing was really using other people’s name tags to break the ice. “Hi Bob, I’m Heather, how are you doing today?” Jump in there!