About two weeks ago I attended this event, a speed networking event for .Net companies. The idea is that the ‘community’ of .Net based companies get to know each other better for the purposes of partnering and network building.
I was a little hesitant but went any way (Talman does a lot of .Net stuff in addition to our VFP stuff). The reasons for my hesitancy were because I wasn’t quite clear what the objective was, but on reflection Dan’s note on Andrew’s blog was pretty accurate.
So here’s how it panned out:
Eddie Geller (CEO of Unique World MCed the event – let’s call him ‘MC Eddie’ from now one J) and started with a quick run-down of the NSW.Net cluster aims, noting there will be more events commencing in July – stay tuned by checking here every so often)
Next, two brief introductions from people explaining their businesses, and then onto the Speed-Networking itself. This was organised as two circles of people (one inside the other, the inside facing out, the outside facing in) and you were given 4 minutes to network with the person in front of you before a bell rang and the outside circle moved to the left (‘…it’s just a jump to the left…’).
Now before you cringe and think how strange that might be let me make a few comments. First, I thought it was really good. The issue with networking for me has always been about how phoney it seems – you know you wander up to someone at a function and pretend to be interested in them. Here though there is no need to pretend – everyone knows they have just 4 minutes to chat. So, and here’s the next good thing, you learn to get your ‘elevator speech’ pretty smooth. By the end (we had about 30 minutes or 7 changes) I was pretty good at summing up Talman in a minute and knowing what to ask my networking ‘target’ so I could understand their business as quickly as possible. These are good skills to work on. And, finally, yes I did make some good contacts. People I will probably work with, and others who I will want to work for us. Yikes! Could this networking thing actually have some benefit and not be just a superficial waste of time? Yes, it can and does. I said as much here a while back and am glad to be still saying the same thing.
Eddie has a good summary of networking advantages here.
The event finished with a stunning presentation on Silverlight by Michael Kordahi. Sadly his presentation was too short (he was limited due to all that bloody networking stuff going on earlier!)