Networking events are a great way to meet and connect with people. Speed networking is a strategy designed to accelerate business contacts. This usually occurs at planned events where individuals gather together greeting one another through a series of brief exchanges of information, over a set period of time. It is one of the most effective ways of making professional contacts allowing you to make as many connections at a time as possible. During these interactions’ participants share their professional backgrounds and business goals.
Those involved or "networkers" are seeking exposure to new markets and expanding their pool of contacts. It doesn't matter if you're just practicing your social skills within a professional setting or looking for others with similar career goals, it is important to know how to present yourself, your profession or line of work and your goals. Although there aren't any specific rules, there are things that might be helpful to know. It's best to know what to expect and how to be comfortable. These are a few key things that I suggest doing to get ready.
Be prepared and ready to network. This means literally preparing yourself to meet new people and ensure that they remember you. You want people to respond to your drive and enthusiasm. Show up with a goal in mind. Know your elevator pitch! An elevator pitch is a brief 30 second to 1 minute explainer of your career who you are, where you work, what problem you solve (what you do), how what you do contributes or makes a difference or the value in your services or products), your goals, and your intentions. Your elevator pitch should reveal how your short-term goals tie into you long term goal or bigger goals.
The more certain you are of your purpose, the easier you will be to spot. Remember this is about making connections not contacts. So, loosen and don't be uptight. Ask questions. You never know if your question connects you with someone who shares in a similar experience or career interests. Follow up with the connections you make. If you feel a little awkward reaching out, LinkedIn is a great way to store, connect and build your network. Speed networking is a great way to make new connections and a lasting impression.