Actually, how much time you spend with each person depends on the purpose of your attending the function. If you are there to meet as many people as possible, then 8-12 minutes per person is a good time frame.
But be flexible. If you meet someone and there is a business connection, keep the face to face communication as long as you can. Get the info needed and then move on. Forget the clock. After all, you are there to do business.
If you attend a function to meet someone specifically and you finally get the opportunity to chat, then use your time wisely. Remember this; you are there to make a connection, NOT to sale to him or her on the spot. You are building the relationship, save the sales pitch at another time.
Often times I go to a networking session just to keep my face and name visible in the marketplace. Oftentimes I will go to an event, say hello quickly to those I know, and then move about the room, then leave. I like to do this when I have been traveling a great deal and have not attended many meetings, and time is limited.
So before you go to your next event, ask yourself what is the purpose and use your time effectively. Happy Networking!
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