Instantly, the group of 28 managers who had listened attentively for nearly 2 hours to invited experts formed 14 pairs and went at it. It was a tremendous networking and shared learning opportunity.Furthermore, the change of pace played a valuable role in the day.
In advance, the chefs had been told to bring their menus, and the farmers instructed to bring their crop lists.All participants easily accomplished these three goals, and many actively engaged in deal making.After 10 minutes, we rang a bell and gave the instruction, "Shake hands and move on." After three rounds, we called a halt.Extending these unstructured networking periods provides one way to improve these events.But another, underutilized means for strengthening them is by carefully integrating structured networking periods into the conference schedule.The experienced managers listed three significant lessons they had learned in managing markets. The experienced managers stayed put, while the inexperienced rotated one station.
The experienced mangers lined up against one wall (think an 8 grade dance), and then the inexperience managers selected one for a conversation. Instructions were given to talk about either the same topics (since different people might have different views) or new ones. After a second period had passed, this conversation was closed, and the speed mentoring ended.
A speed mentoring approach was successful in sharing knowledge among farmers' market managers with different levels of experience.
Farmers and chefs used a more classic speed dating approach to forge new relationships and make deals.
Using the 8th grade dance model, the chefs line up against the wall, and the farmers went over and chose an initial "date." If it had been a smaller group (there were more than 80 participants), the chefs would have given a brief introduction so that farmers would have been better able to target their speed dates.
In introducing the speed dating session, we deliberately downplayed getting to actual deals and instead discussed these desired objectives/outcomes: As it turns out, the objectives were needlessly conservative.
That's why so few couples in a good marriage aspire to something better. Communication, managing conflict, forgiveness, finances, romance and establishing shared goals are subjects you will be discussing with your partner.