hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a speed dating event. Darn, did I say speed dating? Oh no I really meant a speed networking event. Have my pardon, no need for the former!! The event was organized by a creativity enabling organization based in Canada’s technology triangle. Of interest, the concept of minds, means and money for an idea and thoughts of how to get it off the ground in relations to funding, were some of the experiences gleaned.
Speed networking allows participants to have the opportunity to connect with many other like-minded individuals and professionals in a very short period of time. The organizers were able to facilitate participants connecting with diverse funding (private and public) agencies, like-minded individuals and professionals in very short interactive sessions. Understanding essentially that you have a few brief encounters to mutually exchange your ideas with potential donors, funding agencies and investors.
Speed networking events can be face-to-face or round-table sessions or cocktail formats for an hour or a day, depending on what the objectives are and the number of participants you hope to connect. What is great about speed networking is that it gives creative professionals and entrepreneurs a forum to meet and learn from their peers, successful entrepreneurs and mentors from various industries, the world over.
Through a format based on a speed dating method, each entrepreneur had the opportunity to briefly explain their business (elevator speech) and listened and learnt of possible synergies during the presentations, during the three working sessions we had. At the end of each session, the groups rotated in order to give each person the opportunity to meet as many participants as possible and create new contacts with possible partners, funding agencies and other entrepreneurs.
Every enterprise has the need to widen its network, and this is strategic, especially for start-ups in particular. Speed networking provides an outlet and creates the necessity for entrepreneur’s to promote their business and/or endeavour; and at the same time, to meet some of the most important players in their given industry.
The benefits of speed-networking are evident: opportunity to meet individuals, share your stories, ideas or plans in a focused manner, strategic networking and connecting through exchange, how to ‘break the ice’ and how to engage once a business card is exchanged. Having gleaned insights from the speed networking event attended and the interactions, I learnt how invaluable such an event can be to the participants, the community and society as a whole.
Here some are tips from businessballs.com titled Ten Essential Principles, that can help you to optimize the speed networking experience, be it that you are an existing or aspiring (social or business) entrepreneur in any diverse field of endeavour:
i. Elevator speech – Describe yourself concisely and impressively.
ii. Be different – Differentiate yourself. Aim high. Be best at something.
iii. Help others – Help others and you will be helped.
iv. Personal integrity – Integrity, trust and reputation are vital for networking.
v. Relevant targeting – Groups and contacts relevant to your aims and capabilities.
vi. Plans and aims – Plan your networking – and know what you want.
vii. Follow up – Following up meetings and referrals makes things happen.
viii. Be positive – Be a positive influence on everyone and everything.
ix. Sustained focused effort. – Be focused – and ever-ready.
x. Life balance – Being balanced and grounded builds assurance.
So should you have a business idea or activity and you are wondering how to get started or to acquire funding; why not consider a speed networking event? They are useful outlets to connect talent, creativity and capital, as well as entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors.
Speed networking can be a sustainable tool and strategy for the creative community to meld – talent, creativity and capital. It is a catalyst for fostering creativity and innovation across sectors by facilitating the sharing of bold ideas and initiatives, while harnessing the true spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation; emboldening economic prosperity for those who optimize the experience.
Speed Networking and Beyond – www.entrepreneur.com
Business Networking – www.businessballs.com
Entrepreneur meet Developer – www.techvibes.com/blog
© 2012 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.