I was at an IABC speed networking event last night. Cool format.
The way they do it is they have a set number of tables with a set number of chairs. Each table has a sign with a topic and a moderator/facilitator. When the session begins, everyone goes to the table of their choice until all the chairs are filled at a given table. The rules are no chairs can be added to a table.
The session begins with the moderator introducing herself or himself and saying a little bit about the topic. Then we went around the table introducing ourselves to the rest of the table and putting our two cents in on the topic. After 20 minutes the person running the event blows a whistle, and everyone, except the moderators, has to go to a new table.
I found it to be a very stress free way to network. Moreover, I really felt I got to know some of the folks I met, and I went home with more cards than I do at standard networking events in bars and so on.
If you are involved in arranging events for an association, I recommend you give this a try. I think your members will like it.
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