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Coral Reef Fund - Image © Carl J Wantenaar 2005



United Nations Foundation

ITMEMS 3 Speed Networking Session

Effective communication among professionals is essential for the continued development and enhancement of coastal and marine management practices, the development of transboundary activities across, and between regions, and informed decision making that appropriately responds to environmental issues.

One of the strengths of the International Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management Symposium (ITMEMS) has been to bring people together to discuss tropical marine related issues which are of importance to them, the challenges they face in trying to manage and conserve the resources contained within, and to exchange lessons and knowledge, and to share ideas.

ITMEMS Speed Networking - ©Nicola Barnard

To support effective networking, and provide additional opportunities for direct face-to-face contact, ICRAN hosted a specialised Speed Networking Session at ITMEMS3.

Through this event ICRAN sought to enhance our understanding of the challenges that managers face, and to provide a platform for these to be shared globally. The event was a unique opportunity to facilitate discussion, and allow managers to have a dedicated opportunity to interact with their peers in an informal and social setting.

Participants met with a new colleague every 6 minutes, which was enough to define commonalities, identify opportunities for collaboration, better understand each others working roles, or simply get to know each other. Each participant met approximately 15 other people during this event.

Ample time was provided following the session for more leisurely networking, allowing participants to continue discussions. The event was heralded as a success and deemed to be a useful tool for encouraging networking within the conference setting.

"At the start we were worried about how this would work and how we would be able to understand, but when it all started the fear left and it was a great experience. For us it is very exciting because it allows us to talk to people from other countries. We can learn from their experience and see how these lessons can be applied back home in our projects. We can see our work and some of the problems we face in a new light as a result."

"It's a new innovative idea in providing opportunity to meet various experts and also exchange ideas. I think it would help to sustain the scientific networking which is key in the present scenario of reef conservation."

"The exercise was a major revelation. I got to meet more people I had tried to meet and missed throughout the conference. Well done for the innovative idea."

"Congratulations on a networking session well organised! It was fun and we attained the objectives of getting to talk to each other, breaking the ice effectively. This is certainly something I'd introduce in workshop/conference in my country if I happen to be part of the organisers. Thank you."

"I can see value in conducting this exercise earlier in the conference to facilitate effective networking over the entire duration of the conference. It should be the first activity - a great ice breaker."

"Great idea. Very helpful, and fun too!"

For further information on how to run your own Speed Networking Session download the Peer to Peer Networking record sheet and the Schematic of the Event

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