Overview – Speed networking

Speed networking is based on the premises of ‘speed dating’ and ‘six degrees of separation’. Speed dating randomly rotates a select number of participants for a series of short conversations with potential partners. The purpose is to introduce and match people quickly. Six degrees of separation refers to the theory that any two people in the world can be linked through no more than six connections.

Speed networking is a communication tactic that builds on these concepts. For approximately one hour, each participant engages in brief conversations with five other employees. The purpose is to build rapport to better understand each other’s roles. It is also to determine the degrees of separation between their respective roles and the end customer or client. This helps build an interconnected line of sight between employees (as part of a unit or organisation) and the customer or client.

Grey TickThis tactic is useful for:


 Building employees’ understanding about others’ roles and responsibilities as they relate to the broader organisation.
 Fostering connections between employees who form part of an operational end-to-end process but may be geographically or organisationally separate.
 Creating a line-of-sight between back-office and front-office employees, and customers/clients.

cloudyThings to consider:


Determine desired outcome, e.g. fostering a line-of-sight to customers/ clients across the entire organisation.
Select participants by establishing the areas or functions involved in an end-to-end process that culminates in the delivery of a service or product.
Produce cue cards to prompt relevant conversations.
Run the speed networking session as part of a conference or leaders forum.
Seat participants in an even number of rows so that every two rows face each other. The emcee explains the purpose and process of the exercise and gives the signal to start conversing.
Every person in the left-side row addresses the questions on the cue card to the person directly opposite them. They both then switch roles.
At the end of a set period (five to 10 minutes), the emcee signals for everyone in the left-side rows to move along one seat to the right. People in the opposite rows remain seated. This results in everyone meeting a new person.
Repeat the process four times for a total of five interactions.

Tone BulbHelpful tip:


The wording of the speed networking cue cards should prompt conversations that: Build rapport and understanding between employees about their respective roles as well as establish a connection between what each of them does and the end customer/ client.
Category: Face to Face