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It’s like speed dating, only in this case no one is trying to make a love connection. Instead, participants show up at “speed networking” events to tell as many people as possible about their businesses or organizations in the hopes of increasing visibility, meeting new people and making business connections.
Representatives from 33 local businesses and agencies participated in the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce’s first-ever speed networking function last Wednesday at Planet Fun’s Starz Grille.
There, participants enjoyed breakfast before zipping from table to table every two minutes to give their pitches and hear from others about what their business has to offer.
Chamber member Carrie Partello of East Coast Moving kept the participants on schedule with the ringing of a bike horn.
When they heard the horn, participants moved to the next table, where they started their spiels all over again for someone else. When all the “movable” participants had talked to all those who remained stationary, the speed networking session had concluded.
Those who attended said it was worthwhile because it gave them the opportunity to talk one-on-one with people they hadn’t met and get the word out about what they do.
“It’s a great idea,” said Luke Perisich, owner of Blue Sky Building Company in Shallotte. “As business people, we’re very, very busy and we can’t attend all the events. This is a nice way to kill many birds with one stone.”
“It’s working real well,” added Regina Nichols, owner of The Printing Shoppe in Shallotte. “I’ve already met people who say they’re going to come and see me.”
Chamber membership and advertising sales director Reggie Smith said he got a lot of positive reaction from the participants, including one who asked to be signed up for the next speed networking event.
Smith said the chamber is considering scheduling the functions monthly.
“We don’t want to burn out, but we also want to make sure everybody has an opportunity to participate,” he said. “We started out wanting to do quarterly, but we had such a good reaction, we’re considering making it more frequent.
“We’re still in the planning stages, but we’ll definitely do it again.”