Another perspective is that the question is asking for speed networking tips from business professionals that are successful using the format of speed networking. I’ll go with the latter.
Speed networking is an organized event where the expectation is that all of the participants will have access to a greater number of personal interactions then they would on their own or at a typical, non-organized meet and greet.
This question is asking for tips i.e. what works and perhaps what doesn’t. Here are some to consider based on my experience and opinion.
1. While meeting a large number of people and collecting an equal amount of business cards can look like a measure of success, when it comes to networking and developing relationships, quality is better than quantity. Despite their being a large number of people to meet, you may be more productive with deciding on a number in advance as to how many new people you want to meet. Perhaps 5 to 8 might be a workable number. I find that too high as I tend to forget who was who.
2. In a formalized speed networking event, where you are matched with somebody you already know, there may be advantage to finding more about them and re-establishing your existing relationship.
3. In a less formalized networking event, where you meet someone you already know, there is value in touching base with them. Some so-called networking experts will say that you should never talk to someone you already know as it is a waste of time and they aren’t bringing you any new connections and subsequent sales. I totally disagree with that concept. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time with a contact or friend but I would touch base to see what is new in their business or personal world and provide them with a brief glance into mine. I would also ask them if they know of anybody at the event that I really should meet and if they would be able to introduce me.
4. Be aware of whether the event that is being billed as a speed networking event actually is one. I am aware of some business association events that while they purport to be a business event, the members themselves view it as a meat market. No I don’t mean ‘meet.’ Many of the participants are hoping to score at the event.
5. Don’t spend too much time with any individual participant. Once the formalities are out of the way don’t be afraid of being forward and saying something to the effect of “I think we may have something in common or perhaps we can be of help to each other. Are you interested in going out for coffee to talk some more about it?”
6. Be ready with an exit plan should you meet up with someone who is dominating the conversation or you are receiving bad vibes from. It is a fact of life that we will not get along with everyone that we encounter. If you have a sense that something is not right, odds are that they aren’t.
7. Be assertive when it comes to sharing information. “Show me yours and I’ll show you mine” comes to mind. If the other person is dominating the conversation either be prepared to steer it in your direction or have an exit strategy.
I could fill pages on this topic and actually have. I expand upon these tips and many more in my bookThe book isn’t just for shy people, it is for anyone who wants to be more effective with their networking measures.
Question originally answered on Quora.com