Types of Networking Events Actually Worth Your Time

Types of Networking Events Actually Worth Your Time

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Industry-Specific Speaking Engagements

Whether you’re in marketing, retail, accounting, or another field, there are always people around to learn from. Take advantage of networking events that have a speaker or speakers on a topic directly related to your position or department. You can find these events by following and/or subscribing to industry news outlets

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Industry-Specific Speaking Engagements

or experts in your field. You might also find them via the specific software programs you use at work. One of the best parts of these events is that the information—and the networking—is guaranteed to be relevant to your line of work. This might include new software that can help you do your job or the lecturer teaches you about 

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Industry-Specific Speaking Engagements

email marketing trends, which you can start to implement at work.

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Roundtable  Discussions

Similar to speaking engagements, roundtables are beneficial to those looking to advance their knowledge by communicating with their peers. Roundtables allow for open forums and discussions that, more often than not, lead to creative ideas and new directions. Roundtable discussions usually include 

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Roundtable  Discussions

smaller groups since participation from each attendee is expected. Event organizers might even hand-select who they invite as a more effective way of making sure the group has similar career goals and interests. If you’re stuck on a project, story, or proposal, these are great events to get out of your rut and make some new connections in the meantime.

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Happy Hour Networking Meetups

If you get the “roller coaster” anxiety about events that I do, happy hour is a tried-and-true tradition in the networking world. It allows for more of a relaxed atmosphere—making small talk and approaching strangers is simpler in a casual environment. During the happy hour, you can expect things to be informal. Drinks and appetizers are 

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Happy Hour Networking Meetups

usually served while guests mingle from group to group for shorter discussions until the host (maybe) gives a short speech to welcome people and say a few words about the goal of the event.

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College or University Lectures

If you are lucky enough to live in a college or university town, keep an eye on their events schedule, especially in areas that are connected to your industry. For example, if you are a teacher, check the calendar of events for the Department of Education of your city’s university. Colleges often bring in industry experts and leaders in the field, 

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College or University Lectures

and these events are usually very affordable or even free. As a bonus, many of these are happening digitally, so you can enjoy learning and networking right from your living room. And sometimes the career center might even be hosting open events.

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Company-Specific Informational Interviews

In an attempt to find potential candidates during this era of digitization, many companies are turning to informal informational interviews. Similar to in-person events, participants are given a few moments per internal employee to either chat via video or via typing before being moved to the next virtual “room.” These 

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Company-Specific Informational Interviews

events offer a low-stakes way to learn about a potential company or industry and get your name out to potential employers. Check out the company's career page or follow them on social to see if/when they might offer an opportunity like this.

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Career Fairs

You probably remember these from your college days but they are making a comeback thanks to the pandemic.  Companies are still showing up to college career fairs but now they are also partnering with organizations like Watermark, brands like Argent, and job search sites like PowerToFly to host virtual career fairs to fill their job openings. And if you're 

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Career Fairs

enrolled in any online learning programs, they might also offer virtual career fairs once you complete a program.

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Professional Conferences or Work Summit

Professional conferences and work summits are often much larger networking opportunites.  Like thousands of people who gather around an overarching theme (like leadership), industry (like sales or human resources), or product (like Salesforce or QuickBooks) and for 1-2 days they can attend a wide variety of events. Events might include keynote 

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Professional Conferences or Work Summit

speakers, workshops, networking, and even an expo hall to meet vendors/products/etc. Conferences usually cost the most out of all the event networking options we're sharing so it's helpful to do thorough research on the conference first and check to see if it's something your company might pay for. Since 

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Professional Conferences or Work Summit

you will be meeting lots of people throughout the conference, it's most helpful to bring some business cards you can exchange.

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Speed Networking

Have you ever heard of speed dating? Well, then you can start to guess how speed networking works. You have a short amount of time to talk with someone before the buzzer rings and you move to the next seat.  During these quick interactions, you'll want to share your 30-second elevator pitch and have some business cards for easy sharing.

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Speed Networking

Speed networking can be done in-person or virtually as well. And some event organizers will pre-match you with a few people to speed networking with ahead of time. That's a great way to ensure you're spending the short amount of time you get with people you might have things in common with.

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Webinars or Workshops

We're a bit biased about webinars since we've been offering free webinars for 5+ years, but they are a great networking tool as well!  Many times people will register online for a webinar or attend in-person a workshop because they want to learn more about the topic being taught or hear from the speaker. That alone makes these great, but then

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Webinars or Workshops

you add in the opportunity to meet and greet with other attendees and you're in networking heaven. Attending a workshop can be especially helpful if you're nervous about networking since the focus isn't on meeting new people unless it naturally happens. And if it's a weekly workshop, seeing the same people every week is an easier way to build up that connection.

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Alumni Networking Groups

Colleges host non-career events that allow alumni to meet around a common interest such as sporting events, local arts and culture exhibitions, guest lectures and happy hours at local restaurants are just some examples. Alumni know they already have a shared commonality and joining a program like this can 

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Alumni Networking Groups

be a much more comfortable way to get some informal networking in.  This type of networking can lead to informational interviews, connecting with referrals at the company you want to apply to, or even picking the brain of a local entrepreneur who might need some consulting work.

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