top of page

The Art and Science of Random Speed Networking

Updated: Apr 27, 2022

The Science.

  • 65% of new business opportunities and opportunities for partnership and collaboration come from referrals and recommendations.

  • 82% of small businesses cite referrals as their main source of new business and opportunity.

  • 85% of jobs are filled by referral.

But there's more ...

  • Referred opportunities are 4x more likely to close.

  • The lifetime value of a referred business partner is 16% higher.

  • Referred customers have a 37% higher retention rate.

And best of all, a referred customer tends to be less price sensitive and less likely to shop around after receiving a referral from someone whose judgment they trust.

And if you respond to a referred opportunity inside an hour, you are 60 times more likely to be successful.

So you don't have to be a genius to recognise that the bigger your network becomes and the more relationships you can start and sustain, the more likely it is that you will be referred for a contract, a job ... or even a relationship.

In medieval times, when plague was rampant, the advice to those who saw it on the horizon was ...

"Leave early, go far, stay long."

My advice for those who wish to grow their networks is,

"Start early, engage deeply, don't stop."

There is a now a dazzling array of options for those who wish to grow a referral network, from membership organisations like BNI (the biggest and most successful by far), to one-off local face-to-face events, to online networking events.

At the Arts and Culture Network, we've taken the last of these one step further. We've made it quick, online and randomised.

If you're like me, your heart sinks when you receive an invitation to a 4-hour webinar on Zoom. My instinct is that I will have other priorities when the date arrives and that it can't possibly be relevant and interesting to me for all 4 hours.

We are all Zoomed out but it remains the case that online remotely accessed events are more convenient, much more affordable and much, much more sustainable.

At the ACN, we recognise that we are all pressed for time so our events are short ... just one hour, during which we all get to meet up to 10 colleagues, at random, in a series of 5-minute 121s in break out rooms.

It's fast, fun and very effective. We provide the opportunity for multiple quick connections, at which conversations are started and opportunities for collaboration explored.

We've seen young people hired, artistic collaboration arranged and business deals closed.

But if you're new to this type of event, it can be daunting so we've written a guide on how to get the most out of our events here:

The Art

Random speed networking online is a fun, fast and effective way to make new connections, quickly without leaving your desk. Make the connection, share contact details and then carry on the conversation and explore opportunities to collaborate afterwards ... then come back to meet more people next time. You may be a seasoned random speed networker in which case you will know all this and I apologise for preaching to the choir. If not ... and if you are unfamiliar with this event format it can come as a surprise. It certainly did to me first time around, but it works.

It pays to be prepared and to follow the guidance below. Before At one of our events, you'll meet several people at random in a series of back-to-back 5-minute meetings either 1-2-1 or in small groups of 3 or 4 in Zoom breakout rooms.

At the Arts and Culture Network, we like to do as many as possible inside an hour and we don't hang around so it's wise to prepare if you wish to make the most of the event.

  • Please don't meet and drive. It doesn't work. Find a quiet, undisturbed location.

  • Take a quick comfort break before the start.

  • Start on mute with your camera on.