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Meet your match at speed networking

Dress your best and develop a pitch to impress if you want to make the most of a unique networking opportunity being offered at this year's Annual Meeting

For the second year, the INTA Annual Meeting will host Speed Networking sessions each day starting today. Last year's sessions were a great success, with nearly double the expected number of participants, according to INTA membership development coordinator Laura Castle. "We originally allotted 40 participants per session, but we ended up doubling tables with walk-ons since it was so popular," says Castle.

Although there was no tracking system in place last year, Castle plans to use a scanner this


 year to keep count of participants. There will also be double the number of sessions this year, with 11 in total. There will be a maximum of 40 participants per session allowed and Castle expects most sessions to be at capacity.

Each session is one hour long and participants will meet at least 10 contacts in that time. That amounts to six six-minute chances to kindle a new business relationship, or perhaps just make a new friend.

"It's just like speed dating," said Mark Harty, senior counsel at LCS & Partners in Taipei, Taiwan, who participated last year. "If it's someone you're interested in, you hope they'll get back to you."

Registration for this year's speed networking event—being held inside the Exhibition Hall—will be onsite only, and there is no fee to attend.

Speed Networking Hours:

Sunday, May 6: 2:00 pm –3:00 pm

Monday, May 7: 10:30–11:30 am, 12:00–1:00 pm, 1:30–2:30 pm, and 3:00–4:00 pm

Tuesday, May 8: 10:30–11:30 am, 12:00–1:00 pm, 1:30–2:30 pm, and 3:00–4:00 pm

Wednesday, May 9: 10:30–11:30 am and 12:00–1:00 pm

Four tips for success

So how do you prepare to make an impression in six minutes? INTA has compiled a list of tips to help you shine. Here are some highlights. • Develop an efficient way to introduce yourself. Think about how you want to describe yourself effectively; consider letting the other person talk first.

• Contribute to an effective conversation. Don't be afraid of "safe" questions; don't talk too much – make sure there's a balance in the conversation.

• Bring and distribute your business cards. Exchange cards up front; make sure to study and comment on the other person's card.

• Follow up with individuals with whom you made a connection. Make it clear if you think there's an opportunity to do business together; if you meet the same person twice, take the chance to expand the relationship.

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