What is speed dating format
At Oregon State University we have begun using variations on the "speed dating" model (just another name for structured networking) in a wide variety of settings. Sessions in conferences and workshops, whether keynote addresses, panels, or town hall meetings, share a common characteristic: one person at a time speaks, and everyone else is expected to listen.After hours in that role, it is little wonder that participants pour out into breaks, hungry for conversation.A more classic version of speed dating was used during the Farmer-Chef Connection, an educational event that seeks to foster better relationships between chefs and individual farmers.The traditional format for this program was a mix of speeches, panels, and workshops, along with long breaks that featured outstanding food provided by the farmers and prepared by the chefs.Most speed dating events include short (three to nine minute) 'dates' where one speed dating participant will meet with another for a face-to-face conversation about whatever they choose.A signal is given to all speed dating participants, and each person makes a note as to whether or not they'd like to meet their 'date' again before moving on to another person.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.
The inexperienced managers listed market management issues/problems they wanted to discuss.
A panel of veteran market managers providing tips and suggestions has always been valuable, but it suffers from a format that is too similar to all the other sessions.
At the 2003 meeting, OFMA replaced the panel with "Speed Mentoring." The entire group divided itself into two categories--experienced managers and inexperienced managers.
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.Extending these unstructured networking periods provides one way to improve these events.