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Speed Networking with Sussex Business Bureau Review

Date: 27 November 2015

The Business Network Column from Platinum Business Magazine
Network Review – Speed Networking with Sussex Business Bureau

By Emma Pearce – Marketing Consultant – outsourced marketing services and social media training

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Emma Pearce gives a more detailed insight into speed networking – but not as you know it…

You may well imagine, or have direct experience of, speed networking being an exhausting, repetitive task of speaking as fast as you can to every individual knee to knee in a very noisy room. The relentless pace means you can’t really focus or take notes about those you should be listening to.  

Yet, the principle of speaking to everyone is an attractive concept, particularly when compared to open networking events where you may spend 3 hours out of the office but only talk to a small number of people.

Well Sussex Business Bureau offer a completely different and enormously more enjoyable approach where you really can speak and listen to everyone in the room.  


So how does it work?

The event uses a unique format that Paul Yates-Smith created. It’s under copyright as their intellectual property. Essentially everyone meets everyone, but this is achieved with each person only delivering their short presentation between 4-8 times depending on the numbers attending.  You have about 1.5 or 2 minutes to present each time and can allow for a couple of questions within that. Everyone is also given a set of tailored notation sheets that enable you to record key points from each person you listen to with their business card.  

The whole event is highly facilitated to ensure everything goes smoothly – all with a great injection of fun.  There is also time for open networking and advice to make the most of your attendance.


The agenda for each event is:

  • 30 minutes – registration, open networking
  • Introduction – explanation of how the session will run
  • Speed Networking Session 1 – 40 mins to an hour depending on numbers
  • 20 minute break – refreshments, time to chat to other attendees
  • Speed Networking Session 1 – 40 mins to an hour depending on numbers
  • Advice on how best to follow-up with all your new connections


When asked about his format, Paul Yates-Smith said “We wanted to create an effective networking event that gave everyone an experience where they met as wide an audience as possible, but could still hear each other and have fun too.  It’s all about enabling business owners to talk, build trust and ultimately increase trade. We recently tracked back on results from an event in Brighton and it had led to over £100,000 of business introductions! That’s great for a relaxed, non-pressured marketing activity!”


Where do they take place?

  • Brighton Race Course –  4.30 pm – 7.30 pm – once per month
  • Eastbourne Cavendish Hotel –  monthly
  • Hastings at The Sussex Exchange – monthly in partnership with The Best of Hastings (no lockout)
  • Plus – special “Let’s do Breakfast” speed networking events before the annual Let’s do Business exhibitions open in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings (no lockout). All session fees are donated to a chosen charity.
  • Plus – Lewes Speed Networking session before the Lewes Business Expo each year (no lockout) – with entry fees donated to a local charity

There are now also sessions in Brentwood in Essex and more coming across Sussex.  Paul explained that he is “looking for partners to deliver more regularly in Eastbourne and elsewhere in Sussex too.”  If you have a strong personality and plenty of get-up-and-go, he would love to hear from you.


Key Facts

  • Location: Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings… more coming!
  • Frequency: monthly
  • Size: typically a maximum of 35
  • Time: early evening, plus some breakfast events
  • Lock out: yes in some locations – full exclusivity available, or standard system of 1-2 from each profession/category.
  • USP:   Highly facilitated, unique format, meet everyone, notation system for accurate follow up, revolving audience to keep attendees fresh each time you attend an event – it’s like a visitors day every time!  
  • Minute round: 1.5 – 2 minutes depending on attendee numbers
  • Speaker slot: no
  • Cost: pre pay per session – typically £20 inc. VAT for non exclusive position or £30 inc VAT for fully exclusive lockout position


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    1. Hi,

      I am interested in finding out more about how the speed networking works and when are the next dates in Eastbourne and some more details on that.

      Thank you,
      Dale Waring

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