I’ve both attended and emceed speed networking events, which offer a fun and exciting way to meet a large number of people in a short amount of time. These events can take any number of formats, from round robin to group migration to mixer-seater. No matter what the format, the core philosophy is always to move quickly from person to person, sparking connections along the way.
You might get away with the same old boring questions the first few rounds, but the best networkers have an arsenal of powerful questions they can use to engage others and start great conversations. You only have a few moments to make an impression at a speed networking event, so every question counts.
With that in mind, here are some questions you might want to keep in your back pocket for the next time you attend a speed networking event:
- What do you love most about your job?
- What inspired you to get into this industry?
- What did you want to do when you were little? / Is this what you wanted to do when you were a kid?
- What is your dream job?
- What do you want to do next in your career?
- If you could start any kind of company, what would it be?
- Are you a Mac or a PC person? Why?
- If you could recommend one app that makes everything easier, what would that be?
- What is the best book you have read in the past year? What book are you reading right now and would you recommend it?
- What do you do to relax?
- How do you stay balanced?
- What is the No. 1 way you use LinkedIn?
- What did you do to prepare for tonight?
- Is there anyone here you were excited to meet? (Besides me?)
- What are your hobbies?
- Do you get involved in your community?
- What is one cool tip or trick you learned from your time in your industry that most people don’t know?
- What surprised you the most about your industry/customers/company?
- Where was the last place you traveled? Where was the best place you ever visited?
- Do you have a passion project or side hustle?
- If you were going to be a speaker at an event, what would you want to talk about?
- What is the best question you have been asked tonight?
- Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom that you would be willing to share with me?
3 Quick Tips
Remember, your job at a speed networking event is to make the most of every introduction. Asking the right questions will get you far, but it’s only part of the road to success. Keep these tips in mind as well:
1. Engage Each Person With Enthusiasm and Positivity
Remember to ask for business cards, and bring plenty of your own as well. Jot notes on the back of those cards so you can remember which connections you might want to invite to coffee or to whom you have committed sending information. After a long night of networking, details tend to get fuzzy.
2. Pitching Yourself Is Only Half Your Goal
Everyone attending has something to say and a particular person they hope to meet. Be sure to give the other person a chance to share information about themselves. By being a great listener, you may find you are the most memorable person everyone meets that night!
3. Don’t Forget to Thank Everyone You Meet
Block out time the next morning to connect with each person on LinkedIn using a personal message. Immediately send out the information, resources, and coffee invitations you promised!
Erica McCurdy has earned a reputation for being one of the best coaches in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Learn more at McCurdy Solutions Group.
Erica McCurdy has earned a reputation for being one of the best coaches in the metropolitan Atlanta area. She is an active member of Forbes’ Coaches Council and a credentialed member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). As a Certified Master Coach, she holds four specialty coaching certifications: Certified Professional Master Coach; Certified Business Coach; Certified Group Coach; and Certified Youth, Parent, and Family Coach. Erica has been recognized four years in a row as a “best of” business in her industry, listed four years running as a “Top Atlanta Coach” by Experteer, and is a proud coach and mentor for the Navy SEAL Future Foundation.