The Perils of Speed Mating

Last Updated Sep 5, 2008 5:47 PM EDT

One of the many bonuses of gallivanting around the country addressing groups of business owners is that I get to meet heaps of interesting people. However, it's also where I first discovered the worrying trend of "Speed Mating".

Speed Mating is a phrase I use to describe an attempt to build rapport too rapidly.

Watching speed mating in action it occurs to me it's not at all effective. Furthermore, it can cause damage and it often goes largely unseen by the person practising it.

I suspect it's borne out of the misguided belief that the classic Australian sense of mateship can be seamlessly transferred to business and somehow bypass the foundations of a trusting and lasting relationship.

Building genuine rapport requires more than a slap on the back, an overly firm handshake, 15 seconds of eye contact and a quick name abbreviation.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, "more" isn't shooting off an email with an invite to visit your website either!

Let's all slow down a little and remember that rapport-building takes time. When we allow a genuine kinship to develop organically, it's more fulfilling for all concerned.

Ultimately, patience is preferred over prematurely forcing friendships.

If you habitually leave gatherings with a clutch of business cards, but no memories or recollections of contacts made, please do us all a favour and stay home with a phone directory -- the people listed there will be just as pleased to hear from you.

What say you? Have you been the victim of a Speed Mating incident? Tell me all about it by posting a comment.

  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (, the Australian online community for solo business owners.