Networking and community-building don’t have to be hard, especially when you create an environment where it is expected. Speed Networking can be a great way to meet a number of people and build your office’s community.
How to Host a Speed Networking Event
Hosting a speed networking event is easy–all you need is 30 minutes, an open space, and people. To get started, have all the participants fill up the space you are using. Everyone then has 5 minutes to talk to someone they’ve never met, learn about what they do, and share a little bit about themselves. After 5 minutes, a bell rings, and people find someone else they’ve never met and repeat the process.
This goes on for 6 rotations (or how many ever you decide) and at the end of the event, everyone in the room has 6 new contacts.
Tips and Tricks to Effective Networking
The whole event should be relatively relaxed, but there are a couple of tips to make the most of the speed networking event:
- Tell participants to bring business cards. Encourage everyone to write one thing about the person they met on the business card given.
- Recommend some interesting questions. 5-minutes is a short period of time to get to know someone. Asking good questions is the key to really getting to know someone.
- Keep things relaxed. Remind people that the purpose of the event is to just establish initial contact and open the door for future water-cooler discussions or 1on1 meetings. (see 5 Tips for Better One-on-One Meetings)
As an added bonus, you can end the session with volunteers telling the group an interesting fact about one of the new people they met. This can be a great way to get a sense of what type of connections were made and serve as a brief introduction of a few people to the entire group.
The great thing about Speed Networking is that it’s quick, easy, and low pressure.
Got your own tips for networking and building a work community? Share them in the comments.