## Wednesday, March 6, 2013

### NETWORKING MEETINGS - MATH

Rotating paired interactions seem likely to produce more effective networking than dais presentation from each member.

Assume you want a group of N people to network among themselves in pairs, changing the pairing frequently to allow every member to meet with every other member. How many possible pairs are there?

Mathematically, this is the number of combinations of N things taken r=2 at a time. It is (N)(N-1)/2 pairs. For N=2 people, there is (2)(1)/2=1 pair. For N=3, there are (3)(2)/2=3 pairs, etc. As N gets large, this is approx. N squared divided by 2. A room of 20 people will have exactly (20)(19)/2=190 pairs, or roughly (20)(20)/2=200. Assume we will have the pairs meet for a fixed time interval, then all will change partners. For the first meeting interval, N/2 pairs will network, 10 pairs for our room full of 20 people. To allow all possible pairs to meet, we would need 190/10= 19 intervals, or (N-1) intervals.

If I want to meet each of the (N-1) members in the room, it will take me (N-1) intervals. The same is true for each of them, so (N-1) intervals suffice for all of us. Makes sense.

Alternatively, we could each speak from the dais to everyone else in the room. N speakers would require N intervals, slightly longer than (N-1) intervals, and the interaction would be broadcast-listener rather than paired dialog. If the pair splits the time of the interval, each would speak half the time rather than for the full interval.

Thus, having all the speakers broadcast from the podium individually for a given interval gives them twice the speaking time they would have if the intervals were used to hold simultaneous pairings, changed after each interval. You get more speaking time at the cost of person-to-person interaction in pairs.

Rotating paired interactions seem likely to produce more effective networking than dais presentation from each member.