Speed Networking – Build new connections in minutes at your next virtual conference
“Swipe right, swipe left” – a phrase often associated with dating apps that have taken the meetings and events industry by storm. Perfect for pairing people, dating apps use several algorithms to display potential matches based on the user’s profile. But how does this play out in the world of conferences and meetings?
The pandemic has forced us to master the art of attending virtual conferences. Yet, building the right connections is hard, especially when laptop screens are the only portal to meet like-minded people. That is why many companies are embracing virtual speed networking at events to redefine the way attendees meet each other. So, what are speed networking events?
Part of a virtual event platform, speed networking is an event type that allows attendees to network quickly. Taking the cue from speed dating, this type of event facilitates brief conversations among participants and lets them exchange their business and personal information for further discussions. If the person finds the information useful, they can further connect to take the conversation forward. Online speed networking events are also known as business speed networking or high-speed networking.
How it works
Virtual speed networking events have become one of the most popular kinds of B2B events. The reason: its unique format. The event is structured, in a way, that all participants have a few minutes to introduce themselves one-on-one until they have met everyone. The timekeeper usually drives this event to maintain the fast-paced format. Based on the type of the event, the attendee can either describe themselves, their organization profile, or unique features in a few sentences. Most of the conversations in virtual speed networking events are focused on specific questions and facts. Once the attendee finds the perfect match, they can connect afterward to discuss their business in more detail.
Various Formats of Speed Networking Events
One of the best things about speed networking events is their flexible structure, which is customizable based on your preference. You can choose round robins, stations, or even small groups to create these lightning-bolt events.
The round-robin format is a short meeting that lasts up to five minutes and is controlled by a moderator. These are continuous meetings, where participants explain their company’s profile and move on to the next table once the bell rings. In this format, the attendee meets up to 10-12 potential contacts within an hour. The only drawback of this format is that participants are not paired in advance based on their profiles. Finding the relevant contact is up to luck since the round-robin format does not utilize any AI-enabled technology to match and make pairs.
Stations are characterized by pairing contacts based on predefined answers. Aimed at increasing the relevance of contacts, this format works by asking all registrants to answer brief questions before the event starts. These answers are then used to simplify the pairing of business contacts by using technology. This type of speed networking event ensures compatible business pairing based on data provided by attendees and avoids matching undesirable contacts or competitors. A maximum of 10 business pairings is possible in one hour in this format.
Another common format of virtual speed networking events is groups. Groups of similar business interests are created to drive conversations. This format forgoes the one-to-one communication pattern and instead pairs three to four attendees at a table. Groups are formed based on various parameters such as profile or questionnaire answers provided by all attendees beforehand. The seating arrangement is usually assisted by AI-enabled technology so that participants in the group have complementary profiles.
Importance of Virtual Speed Networking
Imagine attending an event and dealing with long conversations that suck your attendee’s productive time. We have all been there, avoiding those unwanted “breakaway” moments to save time and scout for the right people. The result: untargeted networking and less value of events. Now imagine your attendees meeting someone new every 5 minutes and only engaging with people who they think are best for their business. To create opportunities for participants to meet the right brand or business, speed networking for virtual events has the answer.
Virtual speed networking helps attendees instantly foster face-to-face relationships with peers around the world across industries. It is an indispensable part of the B2B virtual event platform to structure round tables, online conferences, etc. Online speed networking facilitates attendees’ first point of contact by automatically pairing them based on the information provided. It offers just enough time for attendees to introduce themselves and exchange contact information only with the people they think are worth connecting with, with just a single click.
Once the attendees have exchanged business contacts, they can build a long-term relationship without wasting their time at the event. In other words, speed networking specializes in simplifying the first contact, after which participants can engage further to build long-lasting business relations.
As many succumb to virtual conference fatigue, people are looking for innovative ways to make more genuine connections and drive business growth. The art of swiping might be the new currency that everyone was looking for!