10 Types of Networking Events That Are Worth Your Time

Updated March 10, 2023

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Networking events present an important opportunity for professionals to gather and make connections. Some events might be casual opportunities to network, while others will be structured around a lecture or presentation. Knowing how to make the most of attending networking events can help you grow your career.

In this article, we discuss why networking events are important and we offer 10 types of networking events that are worth your time and could help advance your career.

Related: 10 Tips To Help You Network Like a Pro

Why are networking events important?

Networking events can be an important way to build your career and advance toward your goals. These events can help you accomplish the following:

  • Learn new skills for a promotion

  • Find a job at another company

  • Learn about other types of roles in your industry

  • Find a mentor who can help guide your career

Related: Top Networking Skills You Should Have (And How to Improve Them)

10 types of networking events

Here are 10 types of networking events that can help you grow your connections and advance your career:

1. Happy hour meetups

Happy hour meetups are a casual type of networking event. Usually, the organizers of the event rent out a portion of a bar or restaurant for your group. During the happy hour, everyone is welcome to have a few drinks and appetizers while they converse with other professionals. Since this is a laid-back environment, it's a low-stakes way to get to know other professionals on a personal level.

2. Industry-specific seminars

During an industry-specific seminar, you can learn about different topics that are relevant to your field or industry. Many event organizers plan time before the seminar so you can converse with other professionals. Generally, there will be light snacks and refreshments to enjoy. During the seminar portion, an industry expert teaches the group about a topic. For example, if you're going to a marketing-specific seminar, you may learn about topics like social media strategies, copywriting techniques or email marketing.

3. Virtual groups

There are many industries or job-specific virtual groups you can join for networking purposes. Many of them are on social media websites or online forums. The group may use email newsletters or Slack messages to inform members of different virtual networking events. A common type of virtual meetup is when an industry expert gives an online presentation through video conferencing. An event organizer may also hold a live Q&A where you can message or video chat with other professionals about specific questions you have.

4. Career fairs

Career fairs are excellent networking events for people starting their careers. Many colleges and universities hold career fairs throughout the school year for students to attend. During this event, you can meet with representatives from multiple companies. It's a chance for you to introduce yourself and ask a few questions about the company. Many employers with job openings have booths at career fairs, which is a great opportunity to give representatives your resume so they're familiar with your name when you apply for a position.

Read more: The Best Ways To Find a Job at a Career Fair

5. Conferences/trade shows

Many industries combine conferences and trade shows. Essentially, a trade show is when businesses within a particular industry can present their products and services. Trade shows usually take place at a large expo center where businesses set up company-sponsored booths. People interested in these products or services can talk to representatives at each booth or exhibition, which is a useful way for businesses and their clients to meet face-to-face.

Some industries add a conference portion to the trade show. During this portion, guests can attend various seminars and keynote speeches that relate to the industry. Many of these presentations count toward continuing education hours. This kind of event also gives professionals a chance to gather in one place and connect with one another.

Read more: How To Effectively Network at a Conference

6. Breakfast or luncheon meetings

At a breakfast or luncheon meeting, an event organizer prepares a meal for all attendees to enjoy while they get to know each other. The purpose of these meetings can vary. If you are a part of a group, you may meet to plan projects or discuss important subjects. Other times, the organizer may invite someone to speak at the event. During breakfast or luncheon meetings, you get to converse and connect with fellow professionals.

7. Community service groups

Community service groups are where volunteers and donors can interact with one another. If you work for a nonprofit, you may attend an event like this to get to know the people who support your cause. Likewise, volunteering for this kind of event is a great way to meet community members and increase your network of contacts. It's also a great way to give back to a good cause.

Related: 7 Reasons To Consider Volunteering

8. Speed networking

Speed networking is a way for professionals to rapidly make connections with other professionals. Like speed dating, you meet one-on-one with another professional for a set period of time. During this meeting, you can introduce yourself, ask a few questions and share contact information. Event organizers may even provide you with prompts of what to talk about. After the time is complete, you move on to another person. Many colleges also offer speed networking events where students can briefly meet one-on-one with industry professionals to get career advice and share their resumes.

9. Workshops

Workshops are a chance to develop your skills while growing your network. Most workshops focus on a particular topic or skill. During a workshop, you may watch a presentation or do more interactive learning. For example, if you were to go to a team-building workshop, you may participate in different team-building activities. Likewise, a coding workshop could be a chance to work on your coding while getting hands-on help from another professional.

10. Roundtable discussions

Roundtable discussions are when a small group of people meet to discuss or debate a particular subject. It's a great way to share your opinions and thoughts while learning other perspectives. The goal of roundtable discussions is to facilitate respectful conversations. While you are speaking, everyone is focused on what you're saying. When it's the next person's turn, you direct your attention to them. There is often a potion for follow-up questions and closing remarks.

Related: Comprehensive Guide To Planning Panel Discussions

How to get the most out of a networking event

Attending a networking event is the first step toward meeting other professionals in your field. Here are some ways you can make the most out of your time during an event:

Plan ahead

Write out an introduction before the event so that when you meet people you'll know how to introduce yourself. Have business cards on hand with your current contact information and website, if you have one.

Related: How To Prepare for a Conference

Practice your communication skills

Practice not only introducing yourself to other people but also listening carefully to what others are saying. One trick to remembering new names is to use the person's name in conversation quickly after being introduced.

Take notes

Write down the names of speakers you'd like to learn more about or contact after the event. Also, make notes of key points made during presentations. And keep all your notes together in one place or one document, so they're easy to review later.

Read more: 5 Tips on How To Navigate Networking Events Like a Pro

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