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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.
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.
At the most recent conference, the organizers inserted a speed dating session in the dreaded after-lunch slot on the agenda.
(Some juggling had to be done to make the two groups of equal size.) Worksheets were passed out to serve as discussion starters.
The inexperienced managers listed market management issues/problems they wanted to discuss.
Abstract Most Extension educators seek new ideas for organizing more exciting and animated workshops and conferences.
This article describes structured networking activities (also know as "speed dating") that succeed in enlivening meetings, strengthening networking, and improving learning.