Thursday, September 30, 2010

Top 5 Tips to Effective Speed Networking

Most people have heard of speed dating, a program in which singles have the opportunity to meet other singles in the area, talk for a few minutes, and then move on to engage in conversation with the rest of the people in the room.  

Now, switch out the cocktails for coffee, the late-night chat to early-morning conversation, and exchange of phone numbers to the exchange of business cards—that’s speed networking, and it’s happening in Kansas City.

Every first Friday of the month, the Chamber of Commerce hosts Face2Face, a Kansas City networking opportunity for businesspeople to make quick professional connections.  Tomorrow, October 1st, Face2Face speed networking is taking place at the Overland Park Marriott at 8:30am.  This Kansas City networking program allows entrepreneurs and small business owners the opportunity to present their products, services, company and themselves to at least 25 fellow networkers looking to gain similar exposure.  Registration for the event starts at 8:00am, and costs $10 for Chamber members.  Face2Face allows for Kansas City entrepreneurs to broaden their horizons and develop new business connections apart from social networking.  

To enhance your startup, freshen up on some speed networking skills.  Read our Top Five Tips to Effective Speed Networking:

1.  Come Prepared
Don’t walk into speed networking expecting to be able to fly by the seat of your pants.  Prepare for the event well in advance by practicing a one-minute elevator speech about you and your startup.  Some speed networking events time out the elevator speech to the second—so make sure yours is exactly one minute long.  Additionally, be sure to bring at least 50 business cards and a stack of company flyers.

2.  Keep the Result in Mind
The reason that you network is to connect with each and every person that you have the opportunity to sit with.  The result of speed networking is usually not to bag the big one or eliminate referral sources or partners.  The result should be meeting other local people and getting the word about your startup out there.. 

3.  Speed Networking is Like a Mini Interview
When the two people networking with one another treat the experience as an interview, a better conversation will be accomplished.  Ask about goals, character traits, business opportunities and success stories, etc.  It’s best to ask questions that will clarify where and how you can best help your new referral source

4.  Take Notes
In most networking experiences, you will not have the opportunity to take notes.  But in speed networking, notes are encouraged.  Bring a pen and a pad of paper to write down any information that you discover.

5.  Follow Up
Hands down, one of the most important aspects to networking is following up.  If you do not follow up with those that you meet during the speed networking experience, you will only have succeeded in wasting your time.  Follow up with lunches, phone calls, and emails so that you ensure that the person will also keep in touch with you and recognize your startup's eagerness.
Sometimes an entrepreneur needs to do more than just social networking, and meeting people face-to-face can be a very positive networking experience.  For more information about speed networking, check out the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce or  Utilize speed networking and enhance your startup's web of networks today!  

Written by Allison Way.  Allison Way is a writer and videographer for Think Big Partners and bizperc. To read more of Allison's articles, visit the Entrepreneurship Examiner.  


  1. If you know what you’re doing, speed networking events can be a highly effective way to make business contacts. If you don’t know what you’re doing, they can be a tiring waste of time.

  2. Wear something distinctive, like a hat or a flower. It’ll help people remember you when you contact them later.
    Take a pen and make notes about the people you meet. You won’t be able to remember them all later.
    Take plenty of business cards and hand them out generously. Consider using the back of your cards to list the services you provide.

  3. Listen carefully to what people tell you. When it’s your turn to speak, they’ll return the favour.
    Try to arrive a few minutes early to find out how the evening will work and make a few initial contacts.