Speed Networking in DC

02.20.2014 | HMMH |

by Ruth Anne Mazur

I recently attended a DC Chapter Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT) event that introduced me to something new.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, the group held a mock speed-dating event that was instead focused on speed-networking (#HighSpeedNetworking).  As someone who has never been speed-dating, I was a bit skeptical about how much fun it might be to meet people in this setting.  I thought it might be difficult for a group of engineers and transportation professionals to make short conversation with a few rounds of new people, and so were the event organizers.  At the beginning of the event, everyone enjoyed a joke regarding how long we should make the time interval and how we would “see how awkward the silence was after 2 minutes”.  I was part of the group that stayed seated, which was more comfortable in some ways, but did not allow me to move around to other tables with different appetizer plates. As the speed-networking got started, I was excited to see who I would get to talk to and how the event would flow.  What we found was that there was no awkward silence at all, and the interval was moved to 3 and then 4 minutes, with even that amount of time seeming to fly by.  Not only was it easy to make small chit-chat with everyone, but it was also great to learn more about each person and their type of work in the transportation world. In the end, I think everyone agreed this type of event was great for networking and gave us all the opportunity to get to know members of the organization better.  The purpose of the event was to talk to new people and find out what they were about, and this made it very natural (and fun) to meet more people in one night than one might at a typical networking event.  I believe this idea originated in the San Francisco chapter of YPT, and Kim Lucas, the YPT DC Vice Chair of Programs, brought it to DC with flair.

Thanks to Kim and YPT for holding such a unique and enjoyable event for transportation professionals in DC!