10 Types of Networking Events for Business Professionals

May 9, 2023  
Reading time: 7 minutes

Building a powerful professional network can be challenging, especially for people who are just starting their careers. Hosting networking events is an excellent strategy to bring your audience together and help them build relationships. It is also a good way to share knowledge and industry information. In this article, you will discover 10 types of networking events for business professionals every event planner should know about. 

What are networking events? 

A networking event is a type of social event where professionals gather to share industry knowledge and establish professional relationships. Networking events offer an invaluable opportunity for individuals to meet, share experiences and contact information. They can also build last-longing connections. 

What types of organizations host business networking events? 

A diverse group of young professionals at a business networking event building relationships and exchanging ideas

There are a number of organizations and groups that host events for networking. From industry associations and charities to private companies and academic institutions.

Industry Associations and Chambers of Commerce, for instance, typically provide numerous professional networking events. This includes breakfast meetings, luncheons, and even after-work mixers.

Another example would be Universities, which usually host different types of networking events. For instance, while university departments organize events to bring the academic community together, Alumni Associations connect students with potential employers. 

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Why should you consider hosting events for networking? 

You might think only large companies organize business networking events, but plenty of smaller organizations host them as well. Thus, if you are an event planner, you may be asked to organize one at some point in your career.

Additionally, there are several reasons why you should host and why people will attend your networking events. First, they're a great place for you and event attendees to meet new people. Second, they provide an excellent opportunity to network with other players in the field. Third, they give people a chance to learn more about the industry and your organization. Fourth, they offer a good opportunity to build relationships with other professionals. Finally, they're a fun way to spend some time away from the office.

10 Types of Business Networking Events 

There are various types of networking events for business professionals you can host. These gatherings vary in size and formality, depending on their audience and purpose. Furthermore, the best networking events provide a forum for attendees to connect, share ideas, and gain insight into the industry. See below our list of 10 types of networking events for business professionals.

1. Industry Speaking and Seminars

Hosting seminars in your industry is a great way to offer opportunity for attendees to expand their network and knowledge. 

Similar to TED talks, individuals need to be invited or purchase a ticket in order to attend the event. The speaker is an industry leader, who provides insightful information on current trends and the steps necessary to become successful. 

A professional business type of networking event similar to a TED Talk with a speaker presenting on stage.

Not only will the attendee benefit from the speaker’s knowledge, but also from their guidance on proper business etiquette. Lastly, after the event, speakers are usually open to conversations, allowing visitors to connect with others who have similar career goals.

2. Roundtable Discussions

If you are in the search of organizing events to encourage networking, then roundtable discussions should be your go-to. These interactive sessions provide a great opportunity for similar professionals to share ideas, and have meaningful conversations. Also with the scope to explore a range of topics and further grow their professional network. 

By participating in such events, individuals can build connections with like-minded people who have similar goals and objectives. Further, with an open mind and enthusiasm, one can gain useful information and powerful insights into their respective industry. All-in-all, attending a roundtable discussion is a perfect way to expand one's professional network.

3. Happy Hour Networking Meetups

A professional woman and two colleagues at a happy hour meetup at the office holding  drinks.

After a gruelling day at work, nothing is more delightful than getting together over snacks and drinks. While happy hour may be a time for some to let their hair down, for others it can be daunting.

For some, the idea of casually chatting with coworkers can be anxiety-inducing. However, it is an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the individual beneath the professional facade (with moderation, of course).

Take this approach to promote solid relationships building between peers in the professional world. Networking plays an essential role in one's career. It can unite individuals with shared interests and potential for becoming colleagues and partaking in upcoming entrepreneurial ventures.

4. College or University Lectures

Taking part in lectures and talks at college or university can be a superb mean of creating new connections. Lectures tend to be full of those who share interests and enthusiasm for learning more and building links. 

At such events, visitors can get the opportunity to present themselves to other students, teachers, and professionals in the field. Moreover, they'll be able to familiarize themselves with the newest trends and developments in the chosen subject. Moreover, with enough attendance, they may even develop relationships with those who share their interest.

In addition, numerous colleges and universities organize networking events for their students and alumni. These events offer them a good chance to practice networking skills in a pressure-free environment. Building contacts with people who can provide helpful guidance and mentorship. It is also a great opportunity to encounter potential employers or possible partners.

5. Charity Events

Charity and fundraising events serve as a great way to make network connections and build relationships with like-minded people.

Events as auctions, meetups, work projects, lunches, and breakfasts, give people a platform to come together for a shared cause. 

Professionals standing outdoors holding boxes of donated goods at fundraising charity event of a shared cause.

Developing meaningful relationships with those who share similar values and goals can help establish productive, lasting collaborations.

In particular, they provide a perfect opportunity to bring together individuals from similar backgrounds and professions. For example, a charity event for poverty relief and urban development could unite architects and public servants. Both believers in the benefit of such measures for their community.

6. Career Fairs

Career fairs provide a great opportunity to explore a range of options, build valuable networks and gain industry insights. They can also be an effective way to test a candidate's skills and capabilities for a given job. Through these events, recruiters and new professionals can take a closer look at their chosen field and make informed decisions.

Career fairs are the ideal business networking events for candidates to make connections with the right employer. Where they can showcase their talents and, who knows, maybe even walk away with a new job or internship offer. Therefore, be sure to use the networking possibilities presented at the events to encourage meaningful connections.

7. Professional Conferences or Work Summit

Professionals at a business network conference asking questions to speaker to discuss new industry trends

A Professional Conference is a productive business networking event and enlightening gathering of company or industry professionals.

The purpose is to enhance the quality of their work and discuss new trends.

At the Work Summit, individuals have the opportunity to learn together by sharing expertise, researching industry innovations, and developing strategies.

Through the organization of a work summit, the ultimate objective is to bring together experienced professionals. All done in a way that enhances their skills and understandings in the workplace.

Attendees will have the opportunity to share knowledge, build professional relationships, and benefit from the learning experiences of others. Ultimately, broadening their own horizons for career and workplace advancement.

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8. Speed Networking

Speed networking allows participants to meet and interact with a large number of people in a short period of time. The format of speed networking is similar to speed dating. Participants are given a limited amount of time to talk to each other before moving on to the next person.

At speed networking events, guests will be seated across from each other and be given a short period to interact. When they will introduce themselves, discuss their professional experience, and exchange contact information. Once the time is up, the participants will move to a new seat to meet a new individual. This process will continue until every guest has had the chance to make a connection.

Speed Networking events for business are an invaluable chance to rapidly engage with experts from different backgrounds. In that way, providing an ideal environment to nurture valuable connections.

9. Workshops

At workshops, visitors can showcase their talents and network with other participants. These are great opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue and also to demonstrate one's skill set and creativity. Compared to other professional events, workshops give attendees the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do.

Corporate workshops offer a great opportunity to form productive connections with familiar coworkers. Sometimes, participants already know each other and can work together in a way that optimizes the collective skill set. As such, there are no unwelcome surprises - just smooth collaboration and fruitful outcomes.

10. Alumni Networking Groups

A group of engaged students applauding speaker at alumni networking event furthering professional growth

Networking Groups for Alumni are a great resource for connecting with experienced professionals and aspiring hopefuls in a specific field.

An alumni event can bring together students from the same course or former students from an institution.

They also offer a chance to form alliances, foster new ideas and provide the potential for furthering professional growth. 

Moreover, such events give attendees a chance to stay informed about the latest developments and connect with engaged individuals.

Alumni networking events can be used to raise funds for an educational institution or program. These events may include auctions, galas, or other fundraising activities. These often provide an opportunity for alumni to give back to the school that helped shape their careers.

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Ultimately, hosting networking events is a great way to offer like-minded individuals a forum to collaborate and share experiences. Hopefully, by now, you have an idea of which networking event would be the best for your company to host. 

Finally, if you want to enhance your networking event management, you might want to consider using technology tools. An event management system, like Timely, can centralize all your event management activities. From event planning and promotion, to event execution and analytics, Timely can handle it all. For example, it can help you with event distribution, ticket sales, attendee engagement, and more.

Start creating amazing networking events for business with Timely event software solutions today! Try for free or talk to us to learn more.

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