NYNT: Speed Networking with Net Impact-Philly

Kudos to Lindsey and Kate, who organized this well-attended event at the  Public House in Center City, Philadelphia.

What is “Speed Networking?” It is an event designed to promote business connections, in this case among a group of professionals who already share an interest in careers in the “Sustainability” sector of business.  In my role as a resource for people interested in this sector, this association-sponsored event was sure to attract people I would be able to relate to.

How does the event work?  Participants were assigned either letters or numbers.  Letters remained seated at small tables; numbers changed seats after a specified period of time  until most attendees had an opportunity to meet one another.  In other words, letter “C” met with number “3;” then number “3″ moved over to meet with letter “D.”

Where does “speed” enter the picture? These events are staged to promote a quick introduction to as many people as possible, with time afterward for socializing.   Time seems to be our scarcest resource these days: I was able to meet and make an initial assessment of 10 people in 65 minutes.

WIIFY-What’s In It For You?

  • For those who are not comfortable with face-to-face networking, this is an opportunity  to practice in a controlled environment and for a limited period of time – no need to reach-out to people ‘cuz they’ll come to you.
  • This type of event preserves a bit of anonymity – you may find 1-2 gems among the 10 contacts you might make, and there is no shame in leaving the 8 or so other contacts to be mined later or not at all.
  • In just a few minutes, participants  share business cards and discuss their goals, share their “1-minute commercial,” ask for recommendations”, etc.   Take notes, follow-up, be a giver…
  • Your group can suggest some “prompts” or conversation starters, or leave it to the participants.  Lindsey and Kate suggested 6-minute blocks of time, so there was ample time to share information and determine if connections were worth pursuing.

I’d like to hear about your experiences:  is this a legitimate method to build your network, or is it too contrived?  So far, my take on it is that speed networking could be a great ice-breaker for a group training exercise or meeting.  I recommend it as a NYNT – Nurture Your Network Tool.  Thanks again to Lindsey and Kate, (and to whomever jammed the parking meter outside the Public House so I could park for free)!