This evening, I received an invitation to attend a speed networking event in Berkshire. Now, I’m not particular keen on these kind of events, because I do feel that relationships are important in business, but the chance to have an afternoon building my business seemed appealing – especially as it involves an expenditure of only £25.
I may still go, as much out of curiosity, as having high expectations of the event. But, why should I have such limited expectations? Well, the organisers PROUDLY tell me:
“Our first event in Chelmsford attracted some 24 businesses and we had very positive feedback from all attendees, including two companies who received three orders, and a quality consultant who won a new contract.”
Now their English is a little unclear: do they mean that there were SEVEN new bits of work that came from this event or only FOUR? Well, either way, my old schoolboy statistics A-level comes out and I do the obvious calculation. On the basis that any pair of companies present could have done business either way, with that number of businesses there were actually 552 potential combinations (ie initial bits of work). This means, at best a conversion rate of 1.3% and at worst a conversion rate of 0.7%.
Now, I don’t know what kind of result you would expect, but those don’t really seem that impressive to me. What do you think?
If you’re interested nontheless, you’ll find the organisers website here: www.speednetworkingberkshire.co.uk
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Like most people who think they can make a bit of money running "networking events", they've completely misunderstood what networking is and what such events are for.
Actual networking, like actual sales, does not take place at such events (well, it does, but rarely and not by design!) Networking is what you do after the event: phone calls, emails, newsletters, referrals, news clippings and all that stuff that keeps the connections in your networking alive. At the event itself, you should socialise, meet as many people as possible and swap details with the ones with whom you think you could personally get along.
To measure an event by the number of sales made is like measuring a primary school by how many pupils are offered Oxbridge places before they leave to go to secondary school.
I find speed networking functions frustrating – too regimented for me, and too much blurb by the organisers about how likely you are to get new business from it. It seems designed to make sure you never meet half the attendees.
Surely it depends on the time since the event? Isn't networking about more than getting business immediately?
They ought to use Open Space and invite lots more people at a lower price, I reckon