Impromptu Networking

Rapidly share challenges and expectations and build new connections

Impromptu Networking offers a quick way to find solutions by focusing attention on the problems individuals want to solve, outcome expectations, or any other lingering issues. After a short initial question and a specific amount of time, participants in pairs work in breakout rooms to discuss the question. This process is repeated 2-3 times with pairs assigned randomly.

Use this method to:

  • Attract deeper engagement around challenges.
  • Help shy participants to warm up.
  • Affirm everyone’s contribution to solutions.
  • Emphasize the power of loose and new connections.
  • Suggest little things can make a big difference.
  • Connect far-flung innovators among members of a learning network.

Steps to apply this method to:


  1. Define an engaging question for participants to discuss, for example: What is the comparative advantage of being part of this Task Force? or What can you bring to the group? or Which particular challenge are you facing and what type of support would you require?
  2. Create a slide and write in the question(s). 
  3. Prepare a set of breakout rooms so that participants can discuss the question in pairs.


  1. Brief the participants and explain the purpose of the learning activity
  2. Share your prepared slide with the participants, and ask them to think about possible solutions to the question.
  3. Assign the participants randomly into a set of breakout rooms and let them discuss in pairs the question for about 4 minutes. 
  4. After the time has passed, bring all participants to the main room and reassign new pairs randomly into a new set of breakout rooms. 
  5. Repeat this process a couple of times or until reaching a good level of networking among the participants.
  6. Close the learning activity with a short debrief by inviting random couples to share why this exchange was useful and what they discovered.

Participants gain enriching information, see things from different perspectives and are encouraged to bring about solutions.

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