Speed Networking

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.

Ideal Time

5 minutes x the number of people in the room, or 30-60 minute time periods.

Resources Needed

  • 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
  • Chairs
  • Tape
  • Post-its
  • Sharpies
  • (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).

Last updated bydonnalynroxey