Networking: The Playful Way

Speed networking? I’ve heard of speed dating. And I’m not in the dating scene, but this intrigued me.

The room at the Last Best Brewing and Distilling pub was literally buzzing with the anticipation. The Calgary Chamber and It's Date Night hooked up to create this networking event — the first time this kind of event has been staged in Calgary. About 40 adventurous souls turned out to participate.

Just like speed dating, half the crowd sits at a station and the other half works its way around the room going from station to station. A call bell dings. You have two minutes to make your pitch to the person sitting across from you. The bell dings again and your partner pitches for two minutes. After four minutes, your time is up.

If you like the pitch, you mark that person’s name down for further contact that the Chamber arranges. Simple. On to the next table and the next opportunity. All the while the talking never stops. Tip: Have a beverage handy to wet your whistle.

Everyone was clearly enjoying themselves. It was exciting, even exhilarating.

One of my partners said speed networking worked for him because “you get to talk to someone one on one, and you really nail your pitch after more than a dozen tries.”  Someone else told me speed networking gave her more control, she felt less awkward and was better able to tell her story to make an impression.

I spent four minutes each listening to and asking questions of 15 people: lawyers, entrepreneurs, an environmentalist, a SEO specialist, a couple of foodies, an Olympic athlete, a freelance executive assistant, marketing types, coaches, techies and a property manager. They all had interesting stories to tell and were keen to hear mine. I noted six people I’d like to connect with, some with interesting possibilities for work, others because I may be able to help them out.

From my perspective, the event was remarkably successful. It reminded me that we are all more than our business personas. This format could become a popular way to network because it makes doing business fun. With the sense of playfulness speed networking inspires, it makes networking, which can seem like a chore sometimes, into more of a game.

Networking has never been this sassy!

Our next Speed Networking event is on Tuesday, May 2 at 6pm, tickets can be purchased below.

Speed Networking is presented by It's Date Night and the Calgary Chamber.