9 Tips For Speed Networking

Have you ever been to a speed dating event? If you have you’ll understand the concept of speed networking.

At a speed dating event you get to meet an awful lot of people in a very short space of time and the idea is that first impressions count, if you hit it off with someone and feel that you have things in common then you can meet up again later and take more time to build a relationship.

Speed networking is the business equivalent in that you a given a set period of time (2 or 3 minutes for example) to make initial contact with other business people. Just enough time to exchange basic information about your business and the service that you offer as opposed to an in depth discussion

The positive points about speed networking are that you get the opportunity to meet and exchange business cards with a relatively large number of other business people and at the same the time limit forces you to move on and eliminate the possibility of being stuck talking to the same person for a whole event.

For me, there must also be an informal networking session at the end of the event where you can take time to meet again with other people that you felt you were building a rapport with. In this way you can start the relationship building process rather than it just having finished with the exchange of a business card.

In these types of event it’s vital to have mastered the art of effective use of business cards. When you finish a session you may well have a pile of cards and find it difficult to be able to put a face to the card at a later date. This is one reason why my business networking tips below are essential to making the most of speed networking and speed dating alike.

1. Before you decide to attend speed business networking events take time to understand the format. Is it all speed networking or is there free networking time too? If you understand the format you’ll go better prepared and make more of the event.

2. Part of the above is about understanding how much time you have with every other person. If it’s short then you really need to have a well practiced and fine tuned sixty seconds presentation. If you’ve got a bit longer you can maybe afford to go a little more in depth.

3. You may be required to follow a set agenda in your meetings such as your name, your business sector etc etc. Knowing this in advance will help you practice the right subject matter prior to the event.

4. Speed networking when there is a fixed agenda is a very comfortable way to meet new people so take time to identify those people that you don’t already know.

5. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to give your pitch, let the other person talk first, in this way if there are any “common areas” that you want to exploit, you can then adapt your pitch to suit.

6. Make good use of business cards. When you exchange cards take time to read aloud what is on the other person’s card. The other person will see this as interest on your part but most importantly it will help you remember the face and the name at a later date. You can also use the business card to make notes. This is an important point when designing your own cards – make sure that the background is a light colour so that anyone can make notes on your card.

7. Considering point 6 – don’t forget your business cards and a pen!

8. Don’t loose time searching through business cards to find your own. Make sure that you have a place for those that you have collected and for your own. I use two separate pockets in my jacket or coat.

9. Finally, if you feel you have something more to say to someone and that there could be a synergy – make it clear! Now is not the time for polite conversation, be direct and let them know that you would like to have a further meeting and propose a date and time.

Tips For Finding Green Housing

Every day in the news we hear something about the environment. It might be scientists discussing climate change, or an animal care expert discussing habitat loss. Sometimes it’s something as simple as people wanting to know what they can do. When you’re looking for a home, you might have thought about buying a green house. Here are some tips to consider to help you find a green house.

One of the main things to consider is where the house is located. Part of being green is cutting back on your carbon footprint. Is your house close to shopping, schools, and work? If not, you’re spending a lot on fossil fuels getting to where you need to be.

You also should plan for a home that takes advantage of natural light where possible, so you can keep your electricity bill down. A green home will have landscaping that blots out the hot summer sun. The plants then lose their leaves in the winter to let in the winter light.

You should also find a home that has the ability to create cross-drafts to be able to take advantage of the cool night air. Few things are more refreshing after a hot day than that lovely evening breeze.

Choose a smaller home when you can. You’ll save resources since there is not as much material to go into construction. Plus, you’ll not have to heat as much in the winter or cool as much in the summer. This also means you should consider the floor plan. Does a two-story make sense, or should you go with a one-story ranch instead?

One of the current trends is the micro-home. These tiny houses are often smaller than most apartments, but they are still fully featured. Talk about cost savings! Many furniture makers are now crafting multi-purpose creations to go into these micro-homes, too.

You should also consider the types of construction materials used, like how solid the insulation is. The batting type of insulation with a high R rating is your best bet. Windows that are double pane are less likely to overheat a house in summer. Take a look for any deals on solar panels, and if your energy company gives rebates. Some customers can even sell excess energy back to the power company. Check around doors and windows for any leaks or drafts, too.

Should you decide to do any upgrades on the house, be sure to look for a green contractor. Explain that you would love to see as many materials recycled as possible. Your contractor can also help find natural wood instead of particleboard cabinets. He or she can also be creative in repurposing materials like countertops.

If you have the ability to find a green real estate agent, this person is more likely to be familiar with the home features you want. He or she will know the green builders and be able to guide you to a good green home.

You might think a green home is trendy, and won’t have any resale value down the road. In actuality, as more and more people become aware of the need to be green, they’ll only become more popular.

Important Tips for Asphalt Driveway Paving

Whether you are building a new home or looking to update an older lot, it is a good idea to consider the investment of driveway paving. Your driveway or any other walkway on your lot is important not just as a practical path of entry and exit, but also as a design feature that affects the aesthetics and value of your home. There are several common options for pavement, including slab concrete or interlocking pavers, but one of the most popular, affordable, and versatile methods widely available is asphalt paving.

As with any type of construction or renovation, there are a number of different factors to take into consideration when you are choosing your driveway paving. The size and dimensions of the area covered, the environment in which your home is located, and your budget will all affect your final choice. Some companies offer a wide variety of customization in the color and styling, so you will also want to keep those options in mind.

Before you start laying down any sort of asphalt, it is important to be sure the surface beneath the site of your driveway is stable and you are working on the proper subgrade. If your lot is a new construction or the ground has just been leveled or shifted, your contractor may wait for the dirt to settle and compact before pouring any new mix on top. It is not uncommon to lay down materials such as gravel to build the optimal subgrade. Extra layers may be needed to ensure a level grade or appropriate drainage.

Heat is an important variable in making sure that your asphalt pours and sets correctly. The substance itself must remain at a certain temperature, or its integrity will be compromised, resulting in weakened or even cracked asphalt.

The air temperature outside must also be taken into account. Your driveway paving may depend on the season and climate of your area. Different environments require different mixes of asphalt, so be sure to hire a contractor with knowledge and experience of your region.

The thickness of the asphalt and the manner in which it is laid down also affects the quality of your driveway paving. Most experts suggest full-depth paving with a minimum of two inches of compacted mixture, though more is often recommended. When you are receiving estimates, make sure they are based on compacted thickness. Most asphalt is rolled out in multiple layers, so allow for time to build up your driveway to your full specifications.

Beware of door-to-door sales pitches advertising “discount” asphalt that may be leftover from other jobs. Collect several bids to compare and check references. To ensure you receive the long-lasting, quality product you deserve, take your time in selecting a contractor with high standards for their materials and service.

Tips for Creating Your First Sales Pitch


A good sales pitch is when you demonstrate to the prospect that you have their interest in mind and the conversation is based on what you can do for them (ease their pain, make their life easier, or make them more money) and that will not happen unless you know a bit about your prospect and that will not happen unless you ask the right questions. The questions will change slightly from prospect to prospect, but not very much.

1. Questioning (Qualifying Questions)

A really good place to start is to compile a list of qualifying questions relevant to your services and the needs of the prospect as this will be the first step in generating interest in your service and it will ensure the conversation follows a step by step process toward a conclusion.

If you provide sales training, a good question would be “Do you have people in your business dedicated to sales”? followed by “are you happy with the sales results so far”?

You possibly can see where this conversation is going and as you are gathering the answers, note them on a pad as they will become the basis of your conclusion once you are satisfied the right questions have been asked and answers have been gathered.

Take your time in listing the questions you will ask your prospect and change them around until you are happy they will gather the facts you need to conclude your fact find with your prospect and the questions you ask are possibly the key to you generate interest in your services as the objective is to get the prospect to a point where they feel confident that you are the right fit for their business.

2. Carry out due diligence

In addition to having the questions (fact find prepared well) you should also ensure you know as much about the person you are meeting, the company they represent and the business they are in as well as possible and it will be fruitless for you if you pitch to someone you cannot connect with, because connecting with the decision maker is key.

In today’s world, it is not that difficult for you to gather facts about prospects as most decision makers have a presence on social networks, come up in Google searches or have websites. A good place to start would be LinkedIn as that is where big businesses have their decision makers profiles and it is there you will possibly make connections, your connections could be connected to the decision maker, what golf club are they in, who do they know etc.

What size is the company, what awards have they won, what chamber are they part of, what charities do they support, how many staff do they have and how many departments are in the company?

You are recommended to gather as much information as possible as it is possible on very little you will need on the day of your pitch, but you do not want to be put in a position where you have a great pitch and little or no background on the company and its people.

3. Make the right decision

What I mean by this is meet the person who can make a decision as it is all too often you get all of the groundwork done and then pitch to someone who says after your excellent presentation, we will get back to you when we get the OK from the decision maker… you are now at the mercy of their pitch to their boss, if they pitch on your behalf at all.

Out of your research, you should be able to detect who the decision maker is and do they fully understand the needs of their business as well as solutions to the problems of the company. If it is training provision you are pitching then it is recommended to pitch to the CEO or the person who understands the company needs such as Director of Training. This is possibly an area you will get wiser over time after some push backs because the CEO is the person hardest to get to, but do try as it is where the decision for spending money is at.

4. Put your best foot forward

You have set the scene and it is now the time to put your best foot forward. Know what you are selling and do not be a generalist as that will make the people hearing your pitch very uneasy as specialist shine brighter than a generalist. If you specialise in sales that is what you pitch and if something else pops up in the meeting such as customer service then you possibly could say yes as it is associated with sales, but if IT training is what they require then it is beyond your scope unless you can provide a specialist in that area.

I remember back some years ago I pitched to a company for sales and customer service training and did not do the research I need to do prior to meeting the prospect. On the day I pitched for what I specialised in and the prospect stated it was technical support training they needed, thank god for my sales wisdom as I knew a technical support training company I had met at a networking event and my answer to the prospects questions was “If I could get you a company that does that type of training would you do business with me then?”, The answer I got was yes and we closed the deal that day.

5. Dealing with objections

Every pitch you give will involve questions and it is important you have the correct answers to those questions when asked and the conversation will be based on building enthusiasm for your services and belief in your confidence to deliver to the needs of the prospects.


There is a saying that you only have one chance to make a first impression and that is as true today as it was back in the 80s when I started off in a sales career which lasted for four decades and today it is similar because you are still doing business face to face despite the fact business is slowly moving online.

Whether it is online or face to face the prospect comes first as it is their needs that need to be met through the service you provide. Know their possible pain points and create a sales pitch to ease that pain.

Charlie Mernagh

Sales Training Specialist