How many times have you been asked the question “So what do you do?” and found yourself tongue-tied or worse still lost for words! To help our members and guests practice that all important delivery and to get to know each other better we held a Speed Networking event at the Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells.
The evening kicked off with delicious canapés and drinks served by our friendly waiter, which helped us all to relax after a somewhat manic day. It was great to see the room fill up with so many new faces too, Siobhan of Sterling Words and Sandra, owner of the SW1 hair and beauty salon to name a few; as well as existing members including Tina Chatfield who arrived straight from a photoshoot with Dame Kelly Holmes.
So what is Speed Networking? Well, you may have heard of speed dating – it’s exactly the same principle really just adapted for business – the structure can vary from group to group but we found the most effective way was splitting into two groups – the ones and the twos. One from each group then sat opposite each other and were given 2 minutes each to talk/answer questions about their business before the bell rang and then all the 2’s moved on to the next table and the process started again.
A few times I found myself hovering at the table whilst a couple were so engaged in conversation that they’d not even heard the bell! With frantic business card exchanging and run throughs of individuals specialities or unique business ventures being discussed, the room was a-buzz with energy and chatter. It’s an excellent way for people who find networking difficult, to meet others. It also breaks the ice for any general networking which might follow afterwards and gets around the age old problem of only talking to people you already know.
When I’d ran out of tables to move to, the ones all gathered together and the twos did the same. There was a round robin of who are you and what do you do to ensure everybody had met, this proved difficult as talking whilst handing out business cards resembled the patting your head whilst rubbing your belly scenario but we all helped each other and ended the session on a high.
The amazing cup cakes made especially for the event by Anna Murray of Cup and Cake were handed out, it was only then that a silence descended on the group whilst we gobbled up our well deserved prize! Anna can decorate any flavour of cakes with your very own logo which is great for corporate events, launch parties and business lunches so a big thank you to Anna for preparing them for this event.
Overall, lots of key relationships were formed that night and I gained some valuable insights into my own business. So if you’ve got your doubts about Speed Networking then I say don’t knock it ’til you try it!
For more information and tips on business networking in West Kent you can read Getting the most out of business networking.
Did you attend March’s Speed Networking event? We’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts in the comments below…