Speed Networking: You Can Connect Introverts and Extroverts for Fun and Success

If you see more speed networking events both in-person and online, it’s likely because – they work! Shortly, over a series of blog posts, you’ll find some tips to snap your speed networking into a pace that gets you results you want. From business cards, to elevator pitches, to how to listen to be of help, to follow-up and anything in between, you’ll find something you recognize that you haven’t been doing and if you act on them, they WILL get more results with each round of practice. As the ideas for the series have been flowing, it’s also become clearer why this kind of event appeals to introvert and extrovert alike:

Extroverts (energized most by other people) love:

      – Networking with more people.


      – Networking with new people.


      – Networking CAN get loud at times.


      – Networking in a large group is what you start and end with.

Introverts (energized most by their own thoughts and selves) thrive with:
– Networking in a designated time.
– Networking with structure.
– Networking without small talk.
– Networking is 1 to 1!

And what works for anyone, introvert and extrovert alike:
– The overall structure, typically you meet 15 to 20 people in 4 to 6 minute conversation rounds, is a comfortable and less intimidating environment than typical free for all events.
– A person can learn effective networking techniques through each conversation, repetition and a facilitator.
– The math works for everyone. Connections you make of 15 to 20 people in an hour, times an average of 250 if you have been in business for a year or two.

Networking, if it is in your strategic plan for marketing and business development, tends to lead to a lot of make-me-puke-but-I’m- listening kind of small talk, can wear out an unprepared introvert and because of distractions from the fast fun of it can leave the most ardent type cheerleader, an extrovert, weary. The train is in – speed networking has arrived and gets better with each round.

How else do you see think it benefits either the introvert or extrovert?

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  1. Laura Sherman says

    What do you think of the idea of letting the other person talk and just listen to them. For one thing it will allow you to size them up to see if they are a potential client. Then you can speak intelligently to them, briefly telling them what you do and inviting them to meet to discuss further. By then you’ll have a reason why they need your service. If you determine that they don’t, don’t waste a lot of time, just give them a card and say, “You know, I realize this probably isn’t for you, but you may know someone who would be interested.”

  2. Catarina Alexon says

    Pat personally I love networking in person and the results I get. But you are so right, it is obviously not fun for someone who is introvert. And if he/she is an entrepreneur they need to network despite that.

    Presumably most of them try to network online? Because for a person that is both shy and introvert to get access to the person most in demand at a huge event will be tough.

  3. Laura I believe that is an excellent idea! I actually have a blog post queued up where I talk about this very approach. You sum it up quite nicely here. It will be easier for the introvert than the extrovert, won’t it?

  4. I’d be surprised if networking isn’t in most (maybe all) entrepreneurs marketing plan of action. LOL – there are more introverts than extroverts online according to at least two studies I know of. Speed networking is more appealing to the introvert – the structure is like training wheels for ANYONE actually who find it difficult to network in person.

  5. Laura Sherman says

    Pat, I’m definitely an extrovert and I had to learn to pull back a bit and focus on others. I used to really blurt out all sorts of information about me and what I wanted. It didn’t work. When I took an interest in the other person, even went the extra mile to try to help them in some way, they reciprocated naturally. 🙂

  6. I love networking events especially ones that are organized. I wouldn’t say I am an introvert but I dont like the after hours networking where everyone is huddled in a group and talking. Unless I know them I often feel like I am interrupting their conversation even if I dont say anything.

    I have been to a speed networking event. You definitely must have a good elevator speech. You must also know what you are looking for. EX. “I am a small book publisher. I am looking for professionals that want to be seen as an expert. How can I help you?”

  7. Julie your actionable tips are terrific. Actually I will be going into detail with similar ones.

    What advantages do you think the structure of the speed events have for either type? Ay thoughts?

    Thanks so much for your comments.

  8. Paul Novak says

    Interesting concept. I don’t do a lot of “formal” networking, but I do network a lot. Being a writer, my networking is spent building content and an awareness of my services. I do that through direct with others by interacting on their forums and blogs, and often direct contact if I like what they are doing.

    I’ve been somewhat reluctant to actually engage in any networking dedicated events, primarily because it seems to go against my own assumptions of how you produce interest. What I mean is, I’m not looking for services or help, and I certainly am not seeking to enter into any business relationships where I will end up financially obligated.

    I simply want to exchange information and support, and if the time comes when I DO need something, then I’ll contact someone. I see a lot of pure promotion of services or product by networkers, and that puts me off. You aren’t networking if all you do is try to sell or get leads on a sale, and I see so many do just that.

    Now if folks want to site and exchange ideas and opinions on how to achieve goals, that’s a whole nother ballgame, and I’m all ears. I don’t think I could take a rapid fire session of “My stuff is great let me help you!!!!” with one marketer after another;)

  9. Pat
    I think the extroverts sometimes need a time limit. They love to be the ones talking so making them keep it short is helps them narrow their topic and figure out what kind of customer they really want.

    The introvert usually can talk for hours about their passion. They typically let the other people talk but when given an opportunity have great things to offer.

  10. Heather Fonseca says

    Speed networking sounds like fun! I don’t know if I’m an introvert or an extrovert (can you be both?) but I’d love to go to one of these events. How do you find them?

  11. Pat,

    I have not been to one and would be interested in your opinion and from others. Do these events work better than the usual type of networking.

    I do like Julia’s tips.

  12. jeannettepaladino

    I’ve participated in and run speed networking programs. I find that 4 minutes isn’t enough time for meaningful exchange of information (at least for me). I think 10 minutes, which allows about 5 minutes for each participant, allows for a better experience and it also helps if they are in the same industry.

  13. Susan – these structured and short networking events are like training wheels for the introvert and shy who want to network better at the usual events.

    Jeannette – these structured and short networking events are meant to discover WHO to go forward with into some meaningful conversation with. It’s meant as a discovery mode. Networking like this is a training wheel experience and not mean to be a long bike ride.

  14. Paul, intuitively you have the basic idea of networking: to meet people not to sell people. It IS the exact verbal diarrhea sales spiel which sickens most people. I hope you will give speed networking a chance.

    Heather, speed networking is held in-person around the world. You could Google “speed networking + name of your city.”

  15. Sherryl Perry

    Pat, Up until now, I had been completely unaware of online speed networking events. Thanks so much for sharing this. You really do learn something new every day.


  1. Tweets that mention just posted 2 blog Speed Networking: You Can Connect Introverts and Extroverts for Fun and Success -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pat Weber, Tony Mack. Tony Mack said: Speed Networking: You Can Connect Introverts and Extroverts for Fun and Success: If you see more speed ne… @patweber […]

  2. […] and the WHAT you solve for your perfect client. But save your full pitch until a follow-up time. Laura Sherman comments on a previous post about why this works so well. 3. As an extrovert it’s quite likely you love […]

  3. Speed Networking: Launch Your Elevator Pitch Rocket with Care : Sharp End Training USA says:

    […] and the WHAT you solve for your perfect client. But save your full pitch until a follow-up time. Laura Sherman comments on a previous post about why this works so well. 3. As an extrovert it’s quite likely you love […]

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