Speed Networking

January 22, 2012

Tis the season for retail politicking. It seems like every other day there’s another debate prefaced with hours of footage of the candidates “kissing babies and shaking hand.” It occurred to me the other night that the presidential election process is really designed to select the best networkers in the nation. Candidates must be able to make a personal connection with voters with only a few moments of face time.

Previously this blog has discussed the importance of networking in career building. Growing personal relationships will take you further than simply handing out tons of business cards, but you may not always have much time to make a first impression. Sometimes there is merit to quantity as well.

Speed networking is an activity that ASCE chapters can hold to help members practice their networking skills and get to know their peers better. Here are basics of speed networking:

First, take a seat at a long table with chairs on both sides.

–          Don’t sit with friends – the point is to meet new people

–          Leave your bag and coat at the edge of the room, so you can switch seats easier

–          Bring lots of business cards to exchange

–          Be prepared with pen and paper to take notes if needed

–          Organizers: look to complete groups, fill in gaps, or seat late arrivals

Second, talk for two minutes with the person opposite you, until the cue for switching

–          Consider sounding a 30 second warning to allow people to complete their conversations

–          Have a different sound to make the switch

Upon hearing the cue to move, immediately all the people on one side of the table will move up one spot

Repeat the process about 20 times. Remember the key is to meet as many people as possible.

Mingle with the people who most interested you over hors d’oeuvres or a cold beer.

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