WINE, TEES, & CHEESE is coming soon (December 17) and since we kind of sprung this on you it’s only fair to give you a headstart. Listed below are all the ins and out of what it is to speed network and how to be good at at it, according to Ivan Minser, writer of Speed Networking & Beyond” at entrepenuer.com
What is speed networking? A great way to meet other business professionals in a short period of time and build professional relationships that last.
The potential downside to speed networking is if someone thinks this is “all” they have to do to network effectively. The key to making speed networking work, is to take those contacts and develop them over time into “credible” relationships that lead to “profitable” referral partners.
So how do you go about participating in a speed networking exercise with the proper focus to make the most of your time? Here are several points to consider:
1. Start with the end in mind. You’re not there to bag the big one. You’re not there to eliminate referral sources or referral partners. You’re there to find ways to connect with each and every person you have the opportunity to sit (or stand) in front of for that one- to two-minute period.
If you view the speed networking exercise as a type of catalyst event, you’re already thinking with the end in mind. While you will not, realistically, become close friends with every person in the room, you’re increasing your potential referral sources by meeting many people in one setting.
2. Conduct the exercise as a mini interview. Think in terms of what you can find out about the person you’re meeting. That’ll allow you to help further the goals of that individual. Forget about mining her database or trying to determine who she knows to further your goals. In working to mutually benefit one another, ask questions that’ll clarify where and how you can best help your new referral source.
3. Make notes during the exercise. If you’re not provided some type of contact card on which you can jot notes while in the exercise, be sure to use your own pad of paper to write down the information you discover. Be sure to note the person’s interests and goals you could help achieve.
4. Follow up. If you don’t follow up with those you meet during the speed networking exercise, you will only have succeeded in wasting your time–which is exactly what you were trying to avoid by attending the event in the first place. Collect the business cards of each person you sit with during the exercise. The magic happens after the exercise, in the weeks and months to come.
Set appointments with each person, not to convince them they need your product, but with the intention of becoming better acquainted, finding out what their needs are and how you can positively impact their lives. You’ll realize the reason you went to the speed networking exercise in the first place: to develop more referral business.
Thanks Ivan, those were great tips. The HPPL crew hopes to see you and our readers test them out at Wine, Tees, & Cheese this December. We’ll have eggnog…and wine.