Inside our speed networking event with Straits Clan

Inside our speed networking event with Straits Clan

Hello, my name is...

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: David Bay

Strangers in a clan: Buro 24/7 Singapore and private members' club Straits Clan team up for a speed networking soirée

Hands up to whoever has found themselves on a Friday evening, talking your ear off to one too many strangers in a bar, 15 minutes at a time. The buzzer goes off. Welcome to the crazy realm that is speed dating. How that still exists is beyond our comprehension, but hey, whatever works. You could have been talking to the possible love of your life, or someone who's going to just be a one-hit wonder.

Buro 24/7 Singapore and Straits Clan came together to present a similar concept — only this time, we've cut back on duration (just seven minutes each slot), the awkward turtles and offered a more rewarding outcome: Networking. Speed networking, that is, supported by the snazzy digs of Straits Clan (the private members' club of the moment) and liquid courage in white, red and rosé.

As part of our third offline pop-up collaboration (our previous gigs included residencies at retail mall Scotts Square and co-working office The Co.), our four-month project with Straits Clan is rooted in our shared goal of bringing creative, like-minded folks together. Enter Strait Talk, a soirée that's engineered to leave you with a new perspective and perhaps, a lasting connection.

Starting the session with drinks at the library and co-working space on level three, 10 guests showed up, bringing with them a backbone of industries ranging from television production, law and interior design. Proceeding to a meeting room after, each guest was seated next to a complete stranger. On the table was our conversation card game produced with Smol Tok, prompting questions like, "What would you give up, sex or internet?" and "What would you do in the virtual world that you wouldn't do in the real world?"

After Strait Talk, we checked in with three of Straits Clan's members to hear their thoughts on our collaboration.

Ronan Cooney
Sales operations, Microsoft

Ronan Cooney Microsoft

Why did you join Straits Clan?
When my wife and I came here two years ago, a lot of networks in Singapore you have as a foreigner are based around the organisation you work for in your profession. So we wanted to join something that would give us an avenue to meet people who are like-minded but in different walks of life and backgrounds.

What did you like about Strait Talk?

The energy of it. It was only something I noticed once I stopped talking. One of the things I look forward to now is the fact that now when I'm back here in this club I have a connection with some of the people.

What's the easiest way to break the ice?
I'm always interested in people's motivations. The "why" is always a fantastic question. I don't mean that in a challenging way — people really open up when they talk about what makes them tick.

Who was the most interesting person you met today?
I met a lady who spent all her summers as a teenager in Ireland. That was really interesting for me because that was the last thing I'd expect from a night like this. It shows the kind of connections you can make and the things you might have in common with someone who you wouldn't have expected.

Lee Chor Pharn
Principal Strategist, Prime Minister's Office

Strait Talk

Why did you join Straits Clan?
I was skeptical. I didn't want to join another elite, Crazy Rich Asian organisation. But okay, let's just give it a try.

What did you like about Strait Talk?
I got to meet interesting people I don't get to meet, and part of my job is to meet interesting people.

What was the most interesting connection you had with someone today?
A lot of the expats I met have been living in Singapore for some years, and they have a deep affection for Singapore. The affection comes out in very unusual ways — for the left-behind bits, and not the clean, glossy bits. “What do Singaporeans think about?” and “What do Singaporeans care about?” 

Marta Rabanal
Sales manager, Christopher Guy

Strait Talk

What did you learn today after meeting everyone?
I am very surprised by the fact that there was not a single person I met today who I didn't want to be friends with. I am very interested in every single one. That's very impressive.

Who was the most interesting person you met today?
I'm drawn to Chor Pharn, because he's looking for the next big thing. He's getting information all the time and he's trying to talk to a lot of people to find out what's missing. What he's doing is visionary.

How do you usually break the ice with someone?

It's not hard for me to break the ice. I'm not a shy person. I usually ask someone what motivates him or her to join the club. You do get the usual answers — to network and get to know people.

Jean Rueda
Geotechnical engineer, Mott MacDonald

Strait Talk

Why did you join Straits Clan?
I joined because my wife joined too. I thought, "Okay let’s do it".

What did you think of Strait Talk?
I like the fact that it was a good way to break the ice. I was more comfortable than I thought. I've never done any networking events similar to this.

What's the conversation starter you always go with?
Say something silly about yourself, and just relax.

Check out more stories on Straits Clan.
To find out more about the private members' club, click here.
Interested Straits Clan members can sign up for our next three Strait Talk sessions through the members' newsletter.

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