Prior to this day the record was held by Australia and stood at 475 participants where each participant networked with 21 people.
How Did It Work?
The event was hosted by Entrevo. They sold tickets to over 600 people for Their Brand Accelerator Day at The Mermaid in Puddle Dock (Blackfriars, London) to take part in the event. They needed at least 500 people to show up to ensure that we had a chance of breaking the world record.
10 minutes prior to the event we were still 20 people short. The CEO of Entrevo, Darshana Ubl, and her team had been going crazy calling no-shows for the last hour trying to get to 500+.
- Prior to the start of the speed networking event the room that had been hosting a few opening speeches had to be completely emptied
- Then everyone who was to take part entered the room and filled it up like water, i.e. all the seats in the lowest rows had to be completely full before higher rows could be filled
- Participants were set in groups of 24 to 30 people; where you sat automatically set the "group" you were in
- The plan was that you would network only with people in your "group" to maintain order
- Everyone had a log book with 22 spaces to fill. You needed to talk to 22 people for 3 minutes each as part of the event
- No one was allowed to start filling in the logbook before the official start as signalled by a horn operated by none other than Entrevo Co-Founder, Dan Priestley. However, we weren’t told prior to entering the room and when Darshana made that announcement up to 25% of the room had already started filling in their logbooks! (I’m proud to say that I wasn’t one of them); those logbooks all had to be scrapped. I thought they might not have enough extra stock but fortunately they did.
Anyhow, long story short, the Entrevo team managed to get 510 people into the room prior to the start; Darshana went through how the rows would network with each other and speed networking began.
The whole process took about 1.5 hours. Of the 22 people I spoke to only one was completely boring - everyone else was rather interesting; a few people I could possibly work with in the long run.
The Guinness Book Officials needed a few hours to count the papers.
When the announcement was made the GB Official looked sombre. I was pretty sure he was going to say it had gone wrong. He started off with all the bad news: It transpired that in the midst of the speed networking drive some losers had left the room for “urgent” meetings and mundane reasons such as “I can’t do this”.
He concluded with (and I paraphrase), “Australia holds the record with 475 attendees. Because although we started with 510 people many had to be disqualified, I’m here to tell you that…” he not only paused for effect but pursed his lips like he was reading a eulogy (and quite frankly Darshana looked like she might cry), “with 487 networkers you’ve beat the record.”
Cheers all round. I even jumped out of my chair and did a happy dance. My only hope is currently that I wasn’t caught on camera because for a moment there, I completely lost my marbles.
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