“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” .
This quote by Oscar Wilde fits perfectly with speed dating : meetings which you attend to find a soul mate and try to impress (or get a nice impression) in a matter of minutes. The singles event originated in 1998, when Rabbi Yaakov Deyo held it at Pete’s Café in Beverly Hills for a meeting to raise awareness of the Jews of Los Angeles. From that moment, there was a boom of speed dating in the United States that expanded quickly in Europe.
Cupid to negotiation
This event format has evolved to the professional sphere, giving life to the speed networking or business speed date (to which you can participate even if you are happily married). Networking is the most important and productive activity for businesses in order to establish not only professional relations, but also personal. It must indeed be known and that we are available as a resource for others, as well as others are an asset for us.
The corporate events “classics” (press conference, meeting, product launch) offer a great opportunity to meet new professionals. However, most people cannot manage time and return home only with some business cards, without having effectively established real professional relationships.
The speed networking, however, involves participants in a one-to-one approach that is business oriented, before moving on to the next person after the expiration of a predetermined time (2-5 minutes). This type of event provides effective “exposure” of themselves and their brand in a short time. It is a way to make themselves known and to meet those who are looking for: a new partner, a seller, a journalist, a new candidate.
The business speed date may be joined to a corporate event , thus becoming an “event within an event”, creating an immediate contact with potential clients and facilitating the closing of contracts in a short time. In a location for example, you can set up a showroom and loft to place tables and chairs for the speed networking. Participants not only enter the network of other users, but also step into the circle of their knowledge: for example, it is likely that a person’s friend, who is a marketing director, with whom someone spoke with in a speed networking session is looking for a resource.
During the meetings, the moderator plays a crucial role because he or she keeps control of the event – establishing the tone. When the participants arrive, it will be the moderator to provide them with instructions, deadlines and any suggestions on how to maximize the quality of the meeting.
Where to organize a speed networking session
These business meetings require large event spaces so that there is no limit on the rotation of the participants. The set up is not particularly complex: all it takes is an area where groups of tables with chairs are arranged opposite one another.
How to prepare for a speed networking
The time for introductions is very small, so particpants should know in advance what to say in a precise summary (information, what and who you are looking for, role in the company etc.)
- Have participants be prepared for the next face-to-face participant
- Have business cards, brochures, mobile (and other materials) laid out
- Move papers, pens, tablets and agendas (in case you want to have an appointment)
- Remember – participants only have a few seconds to make a good impression
During the event
- Have participants shake hands and smile as soon as they meet the next person and have them exchange business cards
- Always keep in mind the time factor to avoid interrupted sentences and not letting the other person talk
- Get participants to write the physical details of who they speak with on the back of their respective business cards to help connect them once the event is finished (blue tie, green suit)
After the event
Reserve a second room in the same location for drinks with soft music so that participants can continue to talk with their new contacts at the end of the session.
Once back home, advice participants to analyze all the business cards and enter contacts in their databases. It is also advisable to get them to send an email or better yet, make a follow-up phone call to the most interesting people for the night to be remembered – and to establish a more solid relationship.
This article has been translated and adapated from Italian for our readers. The original source is from: http://10wattmilano.com/eventi/speed-networking-eventi-aziendali-milano