In our quest to spread the word about Clear Books and online accounting software the team headed down to the business start up exhibition that was held in Olympia just over a week ago, considering it is just across the road it would have been rude not to. It was a great event and from walking round the venue it was clear that accounting software was well represented in both online and offline forms.

One thing that caught our eye was the speed networking event.

If you are not familiar with how it works it’s very simple; two business people each have 90 seconds  to tell the other about their business and what they may be able to offer them. Once time is up one of the speed networkers moves on.  A few of us had a go and as a result we have compiled a list of 10 tips we wish we had known before taking our first steps in the speed networking world.

10 Clear Books Speed Networking Tips

  1. Always try to be in the group of people not moving, it puts you in control and means that you don’t have to get up after every chat allowing you to be more composed during each meeting (they are pretty intense).
  2. Try not to make your pitch sound like it has been scripted. The best pitches were from those who tailored their pitch to the other speed networker, if you’re first to pitch this can be difficult to (see next point).
  3. Try to go second; this will benefit you in two ways. You will understand the other speed networker’s business and whether you have anything to offer them (one of us met a lady who was offering Russian brides, we weren’t quite sure how you could have conveyed the benefits of Clear Books and online accounting software to them). Another benefit of going second is that your pitch is more likely to stick in the other speed networker’s mind because they will be focused on you rather than their own pitch.
  4. Have lots of business cards and ideally a leaflet that clearly lays out what you do. Some people we had in our sessions were writing their contact details down on paper……enough said.
  5. Carry a pen with you; write notes on the back of business cards about the other person’s company; when you get back to the office it may not be quite as apparent what the company does just from a business card.
  6. Final business card point make sure that you exchange cards at the beginning of the session, it can be a time saver.
  7. Lean into the conversation slightly (too much was really off putting), it shows that your interested and focused on what the other person has to say.
  8. Remember names, the people that had the biggest impact on us were those that could remember our names, as mentioned above it shows that they have listened to what you have to say.
  9. The business people who were most successful were those that had done a few sessions of speed networking; the age old adage of practice makes perfect seems to ring true in the speed networking environment.
  10. The most crucial point is that after you get all of contact cards that you pursue any relevant leads you get.

Let us know your thoughts and tips on speed networking.

Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.

2 Comments

  1. If you know what you’re doing, speed networking events can be a highly effective way to make business contacts. If you don’t know what you’re doing, they can be a tiring waste of time.

    Reply

  2. Paul Yates-Smith 6th August 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Tim .I would like to invite you to attend our version of speed networking. Having read your tips I think you would enjoy it. We developed our systems over 3 years and have been running them for 2 + years this way.

    Reply

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