Top 5 Things to Know Before Speed Networking
Fact-Pased Networking Benefits All
What is speed networking you ask?
Similar to the concept of "speed dating,” business and community leaders are paired up with emerging leaders to briefly discuss a question posed by the group’s moderator. Once time is up, the bell rings and the leaders form a new pairing. This format is structured and fast-paced to promote numerous meaningful connections in just one evening.
For those who have yet to attend a speed networking event, here are some tips for successful participation in speed networking.
Know your personal brand.
Speed networking is quick in nature so you may only have a small window of time to make a connection with the person in front of you. Spend some time reflecting on what you bring to the table.
- Why is the work you do important?
- What are some of the things that motivate you?
- How would you describe yourself using only one word?
By understanding these things about yourself, you will have language to efficiently describe your personal brand at the speed networking event.
Certainly, come to the speed networking event with an appetite ready for some tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks. However, what we really mean by “come hungry” is come eager to learn. No matter if you are an established business or community leader or if you are a young emerging leader, you will have much to learn from the person across the table from you. By starting with an open mind, you will be prepared to gain a new perspective and make a meaningful connection.
Don’t hold back.
Along with being willing to listen to and appreciate the viewpoint of the person you are networking with, don’t deny them the chance to hear from you. After all, that is what they are there for. Despite your possible career or age difference from the individual in front of you, your perspective is important to them. Be sure to answer the questions asked of the group openly and honestly.
Explore your Gallup Strengths.
At the Regional Partnership, we are a strengths-based organization. Each employee learns to understand, appreciate and use their strengths. By taking the Gallup Strengths Assessment you will have the opportunity to learn your top strengths and read how they can be used to maximize your productivity. This is a great way to better understand yourself and create your personal brand. Knowing your strengths will also give you language to describe your work style and how you relate to other people. Taking the Gallup StrengthsFinder is not necessary to attend the speed networking event, but it will give you a better understanding of your skills and talents.
Plan to make real connections.
While speed networking is a fun and engaging experience, the interactions do not have to end once the final question is asked. In addition to following in the four tips listed above, it is important organize follow-up communication after the event to ensure a long-lasting connection. Actions like sending a thank-you email or scheduling a lunch are the next steps to continuing that professional relationship. With this in mind, be sure to bring your business cards so others know how to get in touch with you.
- By Rachel Stephens, Regional Partnership intern