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Networking

Client relationships

3 Types Of Networking Events And Their Proven Benefits

July 15, 2021

Not only does professional networking offer job seekers valuable job opportunities, but networkers can gain career advice, referrals, and even crucial networking tips just by attending a networking meetup

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Choose The Most Beneficial Networking Event To Build Your Professional Network

Networking is one of the best things you can use your time for when you’re in the middle of a job search or even looking to advance your career. 

Not only does professional networking offer job seekers valuable job opportunities, but networkers can gain career advice, referrals, and even crucial networking tips just by attending a networking meetup. 

But not all networking events are created equal. As you set out to grow your career path, you must be intentional about your networking to receive the maximum benefits. 

This means strategically choosing which networking meetup you attend and what types of new relationships you are looking to form as you build your own network

As you establish your goals, let’s take a deeper look at the make-up of a professional network and which networking events are worth your time. 

What Types Of Professional Networks Are There? 

Business networking involves curating a group of contacts that offer mutually beneficial relationships and connections. 

However, your professional network is composed of different networking groups that serve very different purposes. 

You can typically break down your professional network into two large categories. 

  • Expansive Networks: it's a broad group of cotnacts which can include former Colleagues or general Industry Contacts. This network of contacts can speak to your talent, accomplishments, and provide solid referrals. 
  • Nodal Networks: contacts with industry influencers (executives, managers or anyone with industry clout). These contacts can offer benefits for your career advancement and impress leaders who make hiring decisions.

You can map out your network even further with these three subgroups. 

  • Strategic Networks: This network is made up of thought leaders and visionaries who may not be in your industry but can help you with long-term career planning. 
  • Personal Networks: Social media connections, family, friends, and fellow alumni make up your formed relationships network. 
  • Operational Networks: People from professional organizations, trade groups, and others who are knowledgeable and connected within your industry. 

Building connections through networking is the best way to facilitate career development and establish yourself as an essential member of your industry. 

Three Types Of Networking Events That Are Worth Attending 

The secret to networking success is to choose the best networking event for your career goals. 

While all networking events have the same goal, there are differences within the location and execution of these meetups that make all the difference in the relationships that are formed. 

Let’s look at three different types of networking events that fit well into any networking strategy. 

  1. Industry-Specific Conferences For Strategic Networking

Conferences hosted by leaders in your chosen industry are a great way to meet like-minded individuals with similar goals and ambitions.  These events often have special sessions set up for networkers looking to make new connections and build relationships. 

Here are some networking tips you can use at a networking event in your industry. 

  • Always Carry Business Cards: Business cards are a classic way to share contact information. A virtual business card is a better option because it’s always available on your mobile device and easy to share and update. 
  • Set Clear Goals: Know what outcomes you are looking for before you attend the networking event. 
  • Do Your Research: Turn to social media platforms, like LinkedIn, to score out who will be at the event and make the most promising contact. 
  • Make A Good First Impression: Dress to impress, make eye contact, and always practice active listening. 

Another great place to network is at industry events for OTHER industries. For example, lawyers and real estate agents could benefit from attending a marketing-focused event. IT specialists may enjoy networking in creative design fields. 

There’s no telling where you’ll meet a new mentor or find new inspiration. So branch out and learn what possibilities are out there. 

  1. Happy Hour Events For Speed Networking

You don’t need a panel of speakers or a set conference agenda to find valuable networking opportunities. 

A laidback meetup can be just as beneficial as a formal networking event. It’s the perfect way to meet potential new connections and leads by working on your relationship networking skills by mingling with people in a more relaxed setting. 

In some cases, these events may be the preferred way to mingle because there is less pressure on networkers to find perfect business networking opportunities. They offer chances to build your personal and professional networks. 

Happy hour networking events allow people to be more laid back and network at a quicker pace. Though it’s not a social hour with friends, you can still practice small talk before turning back to work-related topics. 

Don’t forget to pace yourself with a two-drink maximum, consider your reputation, and maintain a professional tone. Never treat a superior like a college buddy or flirt with a colleague. 

  1. Meaningful Fundraising Or Charities Events To Make New Connections 

Fundraisers are a great way to meet people who have similar values. Consider attending a charity event for a nonprofit or cause close to your heart or volunteering your time.  Even if the reason is outside of your industry, you never know who you could meet. 

You can potentially meet people who could offer you valuable connections,  job opportunities, or referrals. Fundraising events often provide face-to-face networking opportunities with exeçutives, recruiters, and upper managers who typically don’t have time to mingle. 

This provides you with an opportunity to build relationships with influential people who can help you on your career path. 

Donating your time is a great way to show your character beyond the workplace. The people you meet while volunteering will provide you with character references and referrals that can help you on your job hunt. 

Check with your local chamber of commerce to see any local needs or research a charity representing your values. 

Choose The Best Type Of Networking Event For Your In-Person Networking Needs 

Networking is about more than delivering your elevator pitch. It’s a worthwhile experience and an excellent way to gain new contacts and new business opportunities. 

Find the best networking event for your career and personal goals. No matter which networking event you choose to attend, always remember to follow up with new contacts and decide which relationships are worth nurturing. 

The best networking relationships offer benefits for both parties. Always be willing to lend a hand, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. 

Step out of your comfort zone, have fun, and keep your eyes peeled for exciting networking opportunities. 

FAQs

What is a digital business card? 

A digital business card is a sharable file that contains all the contact information on a traditional business card, plus links to your social media sites and exciting resources. 

How can I help my corporate leaders save time? 

Help your corporate leaders save time by introducing them to apps like Calendly, Evernote, and Google Workspace to increase productivity within their teams. 

How do I find networking events? 

Find networking events by checking social media, browning online networking sites, and checking with your alumni organizations. 

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