If you attended Capital City REIA (CCREIA)’s breakout session at the Think Realty National Conference & Expo in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 24, 2017, then you probably heard a dull roar shaking the Baltimore convention center around 9:35am. That roar was not the passing of a freight train or a passenger jet flying a little too low; it was the rumble of real estate investors making meaningful connections. At top volume. That’s right: Tammy Phelps, the founder of CCREIA and multifamily real estate expert, was at it again with her trademark “speed networking,” helping every event attendee maximize the incredibly networking opportunity represented by the expo this weekend.
“You’re About to Meet Some People!”
“Get a little closer! Get a little closer!” she trilled sweetly before blasting a coach’s whistle at top volume. “You’re about to meet some people!” Phelps and her team lined the entire room up in two parallel rows of about 40 people each. “Are you ready to meet some people?” she asked as she got things started. The attendees looked at each other uncertainly. Most nodded noncommittally or kept their arms firmly folded. “Are you guys not awake yet? Get those hands up!” Phelps demanded, explaining that each person would meet every other person in the room, so they’d better be prepared with a short explanation about their real estate interests and business cards, if they’d brought them. People shuffled uneasily, but no one left. In fact, more people joined the session and the lines began to stretch out into the hallway as the networking began.
Phelps runs her speed networking in quick, three-minute rounds. At the end of three minutes, she blows her whistle and the line shifts, placing each investor in front of a new colleague. Although things tend to start off softly, by the time the group was a mere 90 seconds in the noise was growing exponentially. People had “unfolded,” started talking and smiling, and an observer could see gestures getting wider, grins getting bigger, and shoulders straightening. People began to move with increased speed and purpose, hurrying to take notes, exchange cards, make the next connection.
Creating New Networks All the Time
“I used to call it forced networking, but forcing people to do stuff isn’t always a very popular idea so I changed it to speed networking,” said Phelps. While she might have started out forcing this group to participate, by the end they were clearly reluctant to stop. “CCREIA does this every month,” Phelps reminded them before diving into her official training topic: multifamily housing. It’s pretty clear that at least for the new networking aficionados born this morning, Phelps won’t have to force them to network next time.