With events going digital, professional training has become increasingly convenient and accessible. While getting the latest scientific research developments from the comfort of your home has never been so easy, sitting alone in front of a screen significantly diminishes the chances of meeting new people and collaborators – a benefit of on-site meetings that is considered one of their most important assets.
Most meeting organisers realise that and offer various networking opportunities and socialising incentives as part of the programme. One of the methods we have implemented to facilitate social interaction at our onsite as well as virtual conferences is the so-called speed networking – a networking session where people swap conversational partners every 5 minutes with the aim to meet as many people as possible and exchange information about their research or the project they are currently working on. The session is normally scheduled for the first day of the conference so that participants can later go back to the people they have met during the speed networking session and continue the discussion.
What should you talk about during the speed networking?
5 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, so it is important that you focus on the essentials. Start by introducing yourself then go into more detail. Are you looking for collaborators? Or maybe a new job or a postdoc position?
How can you do that in just 5 minutes?
- Prepare a 20 second blurb about yourself
- Keep aware of the time factor – there should be a countdown on your screen
- Stick to the vitals
- Make sure to take notes next to their name so that you can later go back to them for reference
- Most importantly, have fun and relax! 🙂
What if you don’t finish your conversation within the allocated time slot?
- Before the time is up, make sure you suggest the next step
- Message them directly on the available discussion platform with a suggestion for a follow-up meeting
- After the meeting, be sure to e-mail them with a suggestion for further exchange.
Why not check out our list of upcoming virtual events to see where you can try out your speed networking skills!
For tips on how to do speed networking at onsite events, check out this video.