Interview: What's Speed Networking?

Posted by  卫三下三尺 on 25. Sep 2009

WLIB: What's Speed Networking?

Peter Walters: Speed Networking is a fun and creative way to introduce yourselves to others and achieve your business goals. Whether its finding a job, finding an employee or finding more business, the platform helps you streamline the finding process so that you're always getting results.

WLIB: So, the platform is similar to Speed Dating?

PW: No, it's quite different. During the actual activity there's no one-on-one interaction. What you're doing is pitching to small groups of, say, 5-8. They're listening intently to what you're saying, and they hand you a Speed Networking feedback form that says either "See me," or "I can introduce you to someone." Then you run off to the next group of 5-8 and repeat your pitch.

WLIB: Do people actually make those introductions?

PW: You'd be surprised. Everyone comes into these events with a very positive "do it now" attitude and with a willingness to help each other out. By being unselfish, everyone generates good leads and gets what they want.

WLIB: Any success stories?

PW: Yes, all the time. Here's an interesting one. A few years ago I attended a Speed Networking event in Los Angeles, and someone was going around, saying, "I need access to Mohammed Ali." And it turned out someone in the room knew someone who knew someone who got him access to Mohammed Ali. Speed Networking's motto is, "It's not who you know, it's who they know." And if everyone adopts that attitude, and is willing to help each other out, then true networking begins, not just random pairing.

WLIB: So everyone is just running around shouting?

PW: Hardly. There's a very structured, ordered way that Speed Networking events are run. There's a welcome and introduction where the rules are explained. Then everyone develops their 30-second pitch into a single, coherent, communicable concept. Then the speed networking activity begins, which lasts 5-8 rounds of 3 minutes each. And after that, people are free to mix and mingle.

WLIB: Give us an example of a 30-second pitch.

PW: "I need an English speaking senior partner in a Chinese language software development firm. Who do you know?"

WLIB: That's not even 10 seconds.

PW: Even better.

WLIB: What if I'm just looking for a job?

PW: "I have a BA and ten years experience in graphic design. I'm looking for full-time work, preferably near Jianwai Soho. Who do you know?"

WLIB: And people will help you?

PW: Yes.

WLIB: Why would they do that?

PW: Because real networking has long-term, reciprocal value. Other events only succeed in pairing people one-to-one. "What do you do? Oh, I'm not interested. See you later." But Speed Networking extends several tiers. And if you make one introduction and connect two people, you've got two potential favors coming your way. You can always call up that food and beverage manager you helped last April and see if she knows any good wine distributors. But it's not enough to simply have their business card. If you've actually done them a favor in the past, they won't forget that. They'll remember you, they'll know all about you, and they'll be ready to help. That's networking.


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