Speed Networking is a series of 4-5 minute one-on-one conversations. Between 6 and 12 five-minute chats per session is the right number. We usually do three to four sessions to work through the whole group.
5 minutes x the number of people in the room, or 30-60 minute time periods.
- Instructional slide (optional)
- An even number of people. If you have an odd number, use a mentor, guide, organizer or facilitator to fill in
- An anchor position
- (Optional) bell/chime – this is helpful for getting people’s attention
- Create two long rows of chairs facing each other (in pairs) in a large room or hallway (Facilitator note: We often straddle two rooms, or use outdoor space if possible to manage noise levels)
- Leave as much space as possible between the pairs of chairs (15 or 20 conversations is loud)
- Place a 2-3 inch piece of tape on the floor in front of each chair
- Assign a person sitting in one of the end seats in the rows to be the anchor person. That person doesn’t move, others rotate around them when they move.
- Invite each participant to bring post-its and a sharpie and find a seat.
- Tell participants to capture any fodder at any time.
- Participants are given a prompt for each conversation. A prompt can be the same for multiple interactions or you can change it each time. Example prompts:
- One favorite example is… “If we had to work on a project together what would it be?”
- The question or challenge I walked in with?
- What have I learned so far?
- One piece of info you would like to know for certain about this topic?
- If we had to come up with an experiment together?
- If I had $1mil for research what would I do tomorrow?
- Start the timer and let them go.
- At the end of each four or five-minute conversation, ring a bell
- Everyone now moves one chair to the right EXCEPT the anchor. The anchor person remains in that seat and people rotate past them.
- At the end of the session tell participants to place their initials/name on the piece of tape in front of them. This will mark where they go back to if multiple rounds of speed networking are planned. (Facilitator note: you should cross-off or place more tape over old tape prior to new session).