I Feel the Need…the Need for Speed (Networking)

Getting the Most from Speed Networking

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Business Network Chicago After Hours Event, which included a terrific, informative presentation on social media by my new friend Dean DeLisle (www.forwardprogress.net or @deandelisle) and my first experience with speed networking. I’ve been to regular networking events before, but speed networking was completely new to me.

I Feel the Need…the Need for Speed (Networking)

The schedule of the event was pretty standard: check-in/network, first session/network, break/network, second session/network, go home and follow up with your new friends. There were people from almost every industry there, employed and in-transition. As such, the evening totally met my expectations until we got to the speed networking session. Now, it’s not that my expectations changed for the speed networking session. I just didn’t have any, because I had no idea how speed networking worked! I’d never done speed dating either, so the only thing I knew of the concept was the speed dating scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and I was praying that speed networking wouldn’t be that awful. Fortunately, my prayers were answered, and the speed networking session proved to be outstanding.

There were 8 tables of 6, and we were randomly assigned a four-table sequence for the duration of the session. I went from table E to B to E to H and was lucky enough to meet new people every time. The process at each table was as such: trade business cards (see my post about networking), then give your elevator speech, explain why you attended the event, then work the connections you’ve made at the table until the moderator says its time to switch. 15 minutes was usually long enough for the aforementioned process to occur, and just short enough to consider it speed networking. Honestly, I was a little rusty at the first table, but as the session went on, I found my groove. By the end of the hour, I was a speed networking pro. And I had 20 new connections to prove it. (Math guy says: 6 people/table (minus the Author, so 5 people) x 4 tables = 20 people.) Sure, not everyone was the perfect connection, but you never know. I came home and immediately connected with those people I knew were the best connections for me. FYI, I’ve been corresponding with those new people all day. My LinkedIn stats prove it.

For those of you who are curious about speed networking, try it. Its a very quick way to expand your network. You never know who you’ll meet! Maybe you’ll meet me.

So maybe it wasn’t Maverick and Goose launching F-14s from an aircraft carrier to take down the enemy, but it was 3 hours very well spent. I have another speed networking event in a couple weeks with the Loyola Alumni Association, and I’m VERY excited for that one.  I think Ill continue to look for more speed networking events, because I feel the need the need for speed (networking)!

Jonathan Krass is our latest entry for the Job Search Blogger Contest.  Vote for his blog post by leaving a comment below.  Contest ends on May 11th.

Posted in ,

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. JB says

    I think this event format would be more effective than traditional networking events, which usually look like an adult version of a junior high school dance where too many people are too shy to approach others.

  2. Allie says

    Great post – I’m so glad to hear that networking has continued beyond this event. I’ll be keeping an eye out for local speed networking events.

  3. Laura says

    Intersting post! I had never heard of speed networking, but it sounds like something different that I would be interested in trying! Keep those connections!

  4. Sarah says

    Wow, I’ve never heard of speed networking before, I loved reading about this and I want to try it now too!!

  5. BJ Foreman says

    I’m impressed! This is a great idea, well-written and presented. Best of luck, Mr. Krass, with the job search.

  6. Jennifer says

    I’ve heard about speed networking, but like you, thought of the “speed dating” concept and that was a turnoff for me. From your description, it actually sounds like a highly effective approach to building your professional network. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Nicole says

    Speednetworking sounds a bit scary – only Type A personality appropriate!

  8. Jan says

    I wish this method of networking had been around in former years. Looks like a great way to do it, and Jonathan writes in a clever, easy to read, informative style.

  9. Joe says


    Sorry, I missed the event. Your article is very well written and makes me even more sorry that I missed the event.

  10. Melissa Cooley says

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with speed networking, Jonathan! Your description shows that it is not as intimidating as the name would suggest. Good luck to you!

  11. Melissa Cooley says

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with speed networking, Jonathan! Your description shows that it is not as intimidating as the name would suggest. Good luck to you!

  12. Daniel says

    I agree with many of the others, this does sound more effective than traditional networking lunches in which you eat rubbery chicken, and speak to only a few others.

  13. MB says

    Very interesting article. I’ll have to check out a speed networking event near here.

  14. Rob says

    Very good summary of what to expect from the event. And when job hunting the maximum numbers of quality contacts is what it is all about. Congrats!

  15. JC says

    Interesting! Sounds like a great way to get that initial introduction/impression going!

  16. Jean Pickering says

    I am so glad you enjoyed the speed networking. The format we use at BNC After Hours is my version of speed networking. I have been to several of the speed networking events where it is just like speed dating – too loud, always moving just when the conversation get good, crowded, etc. In other words – not for the faint of heart.

    I run the BNC Technology lunches and started doing this form of speed networking there because I wanted something where people actually got to know each other and yet got to meet a lot of people. It was a winner at the BNC Technology lunches so after the 1st month when we tried the traditional speed networking format, I switched it over to my version of speed networking and it has been a success every since.

    Again, I am so glad you enjoyed it and I hope to see you again and again at future BNC After Hours events.

  17. Susan says

    Extremely well well written blog with lots of great informationn on a new method of job search.


  18. M. A. says

    Very fascinating I’ve never heard of anything like this.
    Well written article.

  19. Andrea says

    Job searching, just like everything else is changing rapidly. Thanks for a sneak peek at the future!

  20. mindy says

    Great, informative post. I’ve been hesitant to try Speed Networking in the past, but am now rethinking this notion. Perhaps in your next post you can discuss topic points you’ve used at this and other networking events to break the ice?



Pin It on Pinterest