I recently had an opportunity to attend a speed networking event. In case you haven’t heard of it, you are paired with each person in the room for 5 minutes at a time. Each one has a chance to tell about themselves for 2 minutes and then you move on to another partner. I am sure that each one is run a bit differently, but the concept is the same.
There are some real advantages to networking in this way.
- You get to have one-on-one attention of each attendee for a solid 2 minutes. You get to tell them about your business and their only job is to listen to you, and you only.
- You get to listen to each attendee’s talk for 2 minutes and 2 minutes ONLY. No being stuck with someone who goes on and on and is not respecting your time.
- You get to talk to everyone. You will not walk out thinking that you missed half of the crowd because they were tied up with other people.
- In this case, we had exclusive categories for our businesses. No competition. Just makes it more interesting and relaxing.
That being said, it is wise to come prepared to these events. You do get 2 minutes of undivided attention, but it is ONLY 2 minutes. You want to be as productive as possible in that short amount of time. Here are some tips to help you to prepare:
- Say your name and a give 2 or 3 words that set the scene for the business you are in..
“I am Joe, and I am in the Financial Services business.”
- State who you work with. This helps others to narrow in on who you are looking for as clients.
“I work with young professionals who are just starting to build a nest egg.”
- State the benefits you bring to your clients. You can say it just like that too. Make it easy for them to put together what you do and how you help.
“The benefits that I bring to my clients is not only sound investing advice, but also the security of knowing they have someone who is watching their money every day.”
- State why you are different. This helps the listener to differentiate you from others in similar businesses.
“What makes my service different is…”
“What separates my service from others is….”
- Wrap it up with an action statement. Help the other person to know the next step in getting to know you better or how to refer you. If you have an offer, come prepared with it in writing so that you can hand it to them. This gives them even more information about you. It gives them something more than your business card to look at when they get home and are trying to figure out what to do as a next step.
Tell them, “We are currently running an introductory special. If you or anyone you know are interested in knowing more, please call the number listed here on this paper.” Then give them the paper with your offer.
It takes a little bit of time to do your preparation, but it is worth it. Because your time is valuable you want to make the most of your networking time.