Networking is important for business
As an SME I certainly recognise the need and importance of networking, however often I feel frustrated with some of the networking events I attend. This isn’t always the fault of the organiser; more often than not it just isn’t physically possible to talk to everyone in the room. Time spent away from the business is particularly precious so in these situations when I have only met perhaps a handful of new contacts or spoken to only 5% of the room I sometimes leave feeling a little deflated that I didn’t achieve more.
I appreciate that it works for some people but my schedule varies wildly from week to week depending on the events we are planning and I would not get value and simply cannot commit the time to network on a weekly basis to a regular group of people. I frankly do not agree that you need to have breakfast with the same people once a week to remind them to call on you if they need your services. Personally I also prefer to mix it up a bit!
These sentiments and other frustrations were shared by Martin Adams of Money Best Deal who approached me about starting a different type of networking event and wanted my help. Martin is a very active networker but over the course of a year he had recorded the things he liked about networking events and the areas were he thought there was room for improvement. He had also had many frank conversations with others about their likes and dislikes about networking events. People often disliked having to address the whole room and found it awkward sometimes to infiltrate groups if everyone seemed already deep in conversation when they entered the room. Top of the pet hates though included expensive annual fees and contracts and expensive fees to attend events, often with little or no return from over the course of a year.
Martin wanted to do something about it and we agreed to set up a series of business speed-networking events across the North West to try to overcome some of the issues and dislikes identified and to strive to create efficient, good value networking events for business men and women. It was important to us both to have no upfront fees, contract or tie in to enable people to simply choose to attend the events most suitable for their schedule and to dip in and out as they wished. Likewise although we need to cover the costs of running the events we wanted to keep the ticket price as low as possible to give good value and accordingly the ticket price is £12.50. Attendance at the events is limited to two per organisation, to ensure variety and we recommend different specialisms/areas of interest if two people do come along.
Most importantly we wanted to ensure that the events are time efficient and guarantee that everyone has the opportunity to talk to every single other person in attendance on a one to one basis. We also vowed to bring in different experts to give presentations and opportunities for questions and answers at the start of each event, focusing on topics of interest to small businesses.
So what is Speed-Networking?
Speed-networking is a structured, fast-paced, effective and fun way to meet other businesses in mini one to one meetings.
Speed-networkers want to broaden their connections by increasing their exposure to other like-minded people.
During a set time period you are able to get a brief understanding about what your new contact does, whether there is the possibility of a future business relationship and whether it would be worthwhile speaking or meeting in further detail.
What is the format of Speed-Networking-Works Events?
Attendees are invited to register on site from 3 pm and refreshments and cake are available as well as some open networking time.
After a welcome from the host at 3.30 pm the expert speaker will then present on a specific topic and have time to answer questions from attendees. The host then explains speed-networking for those not familiar with the format of the event and how it works.
For the speed-networking attendees are seated facing each other across a table and have a timed period to introduce themselves and hear from the other person. At the bell/buzzer those seated on one side of the table stand up and move along one place. This process is repeated until everyone has spoken to all the other people in the room with a comfort break half way through.
Further open networking time is then available at the end of the event to pick up on any of the exciting conversations you started during the face to face speed-networking meetings.
When are these events taking place and how can I attend?
Registrations are open for the next event:
Business Speed Networking Works Darwen
Thursday 20 September 2012
The Learning Academy, Crown Paints, Hollins Road, Darwen, BB3 0BG
Further information and bookings at:
We hope to see you there!
For more information please call Becki on 01772 336639 or Martin on 01254 233035.
Please follow us on Twitter @speednetworknw