How To Find Networking Events Worth Attending

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For entrepreneurs, Spring and Summer are usually swamped with networking events. But with all this choice - which one is actually worth your time?

For any professional or any company, be it a bank, an event production agency, or even a law firm, networking is a critical part of professional, business, and career development. It generates social capital and helps businesses and professionals expand their reach and social influence.

But not all networking events are created equal. Some are good for you, while others are just bad and not worth your time. Some are high value while others are low value, meaning they do little to nothing for your growth as a professional or as an entrepreneur.

High vs. Low-Value Events

High-value events have solid attendance and are paired with engaging discussions. A good example would be TED Talks and Davos, where you’re not only listening to industry experts but you’re also engaging in conversation with other people who are changing the world. These conversations often lead to collaborations, deals, and partnerships that may change your entire life. Note that these high-value events may also require payment or certain qualifications before you can join, so do check in on the requirements before you decide to sign up for one.

In contrast, low-value events are obvious due to an odd selection or grouping of people, the lack of focus for the program, or even poor choice of venue. You’ll know it’s a low-value event when the only thing on your mind is knowing when to leave.

How To Find Networking Events

#1 Reach Out To Friends & Colleagues

The power of word of mouth is pretty amazing if you know how to use it to your advantage. Talk to your colleagues from work or from different companies and find out industry-focused networking events that they know about. Chances are, they’ll know of an event, or know someone who knows of one. At this point, you’re already building your network just by asking!

#2 Use Networking Sites

Networking sites such as Meetup and Eventbrite are two of the most popular sites catering to networking-focused events based on geographic location. Meetup allows you to explore in-person meetups in your industry while Eventbrite is more of a listings page for free and paid events.

#3 Use Social Media Sites

Social media sites can be used for finding networking events too, you know. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are good places to start. The mentioned social media sites have events listed on there that may not show up on your feed directly, but doing a search on any of these sites will show you the available events.

#4 Use Your Local Alumni

Sometimes, your local college or grad school alumni can point you to decent networking events. Colleges and universities also host networking events for their alumni, so it never hurts to ask your local colleges.

What Networking Events Are Worth Your Time?

Breakfast Networking

Breakfast meetings and networking are great events that you should always look forward to. Think about it. You’re their first pitch of the day, so they’re not that swamped yet with other things that need their attention later on in the day. Unlike happy hour meetings where the alcohol usually directs most of the talking, you and the others are feeling fresh and energized to get the day started.

Industry Engagements

Industry-specific engagements usually involve a speaker, or speakers, on a topic that’s related to your department, business, or industry. For example, if you’re part of an event production agency and you handle logistics, attending a convention about brand experience and portfolio planning can help develop you as a professional. If it’s a different aspect of your industry, don’t be hesitant to join in. Remember, it never hurts to learn new things.

Roundtable Discussions

Much like speaking engagements, roundtable discussions and engagements are for anyone who wants to communicate directly with their peers and other industry experts. Roundtables also allow open forums and discussions that lead to creative collaboration and ideas. It’s also helpful for those who’re stuck on an idea for a project, story, or proposal as getting feedback from peers outside your company can be valuable for you to move forward.

Happy Hour Meetups

The opposite of breakfast networking, happy hour meetings take place after work hours and is considered a tried-and-tested tradition of the networking world. The atmosphere is more relaxed and gives more room for small talk and casual discussions before a business is discussed. If you’re looking to secure a deal or partnership with clients, then happy hour meetups are not advised.

As mentioned earlier, not all networking events are created equal. And just because there’s one doesn’t mean you should attend it. Pick your poison, as they say, and in this case, choose your networking events wisely. You don’t have all the time in the world to go from one event to another, so make every event count.



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