Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Speed Networking in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Saturday's Philadelphia Inquirer included a story on a speed networking session hosted by eWomenNetwork. I saw the story on Saturday, but I didn't have time to post it until now. It's the second mention of networking in the Inquirer this past week, and it quoted Steve Smolinsky among others.

Full disclosure: I've never been to a speed networking event, or at least not to anything that positioned itself as a speed networking event. I'm also not one to pontificate on things I haven't experienced myself, so I won't step into the obvious controversy between those who think speed networking is the best thing since sliced bread and those who relish the idea of fresh-baked, hand-sliced sprouted whole-wheat bread, thank you very much. Both have their uses, and it's a matter of personal taste as to which is best.

I will agree with Steve that networking is all about relationships, and it takes time to develop a relationship. Speed networking is just the first step, and if all you are doing is collecting business cards, then you are missing a lot of opportunity to add significant depth to your networking relationships. So, you just met 7 or 8 people at a networking event. Before the event is over, review who you met, decide on one person that you want to know better, and go ask them if you can follow-up next week. Maybe you have a question you want to explore. Maybe you have some resources or contacts you can offer them based on what they told you during their pitch (remember, networking isn't about you, it's about them).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think you have to meet someone three times before you start really developing a networking relationship with someone. Nothing speedy about that.

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