The format of meetings can vary widely from group to group, but everyone generally introduces themselves; possibly has an opportunity to ask for help in a specific area (for example, asking if anyone knows anyone in the local insurance head office for an introduction); there might be a speaker; there is usually an opportunity to pass around or display business cards and flyers; there could be a dedicated session for passing on referrals; there are refreshments of some sort – sometimes even full meals; and there is a time for mingling, plus sometimes more structured one-to-ones with other members.

 

Speed networking

This is a highly structured occasion, sometimes comprising the entire meeting, but sometimes just a session within one, providing the opportunity to talk to a great number of people in a short time, with someone overseeing frequent changes of “partner”. You may only have 30 seconds to explain what it is that you can offer, and the same to establish whether the other person is worthy of further interest. It’s a fantastic way to practise your “elevator” pitch, and to develop a short-list of people to talk to later.

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