“Everyone should build their network before they need it.” Dave Delaney
A networking event is a gathering of people who come together to make connections, exchange information, and build relationships. It is also the most important thing you can do for long term career and business success. As much as these networking events may seem like a pain to some, they can be the difference between a bustling career or business, and a stagnant one.
These events are typically organized for a specific industry, profession, or interest. The aim is to help individuals and organizations expand their professional and social networks, which can lead to new business opportunities, job leads, and collaborations. In short, they are always a good idea.
But there are so many different types of networking events to attend so how are you supposed to know which event to attend? Which of these networking events are worthwhile? Never fear, SFIMA is here. We’ve elaborated on the 8 best networking events to attend. Read to the end to learn a few techniques to tell if a networking event is worth your while.
1. Speaker Events
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” Mark Twain
Always look out for speaker events. A speaker event hosts a guest speaker or panel of speakers that present on a specific topic or theme, and attendees have the opportunity to network and make connections before, during, and after the presentation. The speaker(s) may be experts in their field, industry leaders, or successful entrepreneurs who share their knowledge and experience with the audience. The event may include a Q&A session where attendees can ask the speaker questions. Attendees can also connect and network with one another before and after the presentation, as well as during breaks or other designated networking times.
What’s great about a speaking event is that it brings together highly motivated people who want to learn from the speaker. You can be sure that you are surrounded by people who want to excel at their industry. These are the people you want to connect with! And at the very least, if you don’t make any connections, you will still learn some incredible insight from experts in that field.
2. Industry-Specific Events
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius
Just as the name suggests, industry-specific events are based around a specific industry. These events are organized by professional associations, trade organizations, or companies within the industry. They are designed to provide an opportunity for industry professionals to connect with one another, share information and best practices, and learn about the latest trends and developments in their field.
What’s great about these events, is that you will be surrounded by your peers, people who know the ins and outs of your industry and have some experience (or lots of experience) in that field. Think of it like walking around a room filled with people know have already made all the mistakes you haven’t even reached yet. This is the place to be to find a mentor and to ask questions to avoid pitfalls later.
3. Happy Hour Events
“Why limit happy to an hour?” WC Fields
Ready to let loose and mingle? It’s happy hour time. Happy hour events can be a valuable way for professionals to connect with one another in a relaxed and informal setting. They are designed to provide an opportunity for attendees to socialize and make connections outside of the traditional office setting, in a relaxing environment.
Happy hour events are usually less formal than other types of networking events, which can make it easier for attendees to relax and make connections. The relaxed atmosphere of a happy hour event can make it less intimidating for people who are new to networking or shy. These events often attract a diverse group of people from different industries and backgrounds, which can lead to valuable connections and collaborations.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Edward Everett Hale
Conferences are typically large, multi-day events that bring together experts and leaders in a specific industry or field to share their knowledge and experience. You get a lot of free, branded swag, and you spend the day meeting more people than you can remember. And the best part is that these conferences bring together the best elements of all the other networking events.
Conferences often feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, and workshops that provide attendees with valuable information and insights on the latest trends and developments in their field. They provide an opportunity for attendees to connect with other professionals in their industry or field, which can lead to new business opportunities, job leads, and collaborations. Every conference brings together people from different backgrounds, industries, and cultures, allowing attendees to learn about new perspectives, approaches, and technologies, which could help them in their professional or personal growth. Attending a conference allows you to stay current with the latest technologies, trends, and best practices in your field, which can help you to be more competitive in the job market.
“I visualize things in my mind before I have to do them. It’s like having a mental workshop.” Jack Youngblood
Workshops can be a great place to network, as they often bring together a group of people with a common interest or goal. They are typically focused on a specific topic or skill and provide attendees with an opportunity to learn, grow and connect with others.
Workshops often attract people who share a common interest or goal, which can provide an opportunity to connect with others who have similar professional or personal aspirations. They are led by experts in their field, who can provide valuable insights and advice, as well as connect attendees with other experts and leaders in the industry. Most workshops tend to have a smaller number of attendees than conferences, which provides a more intimate setting for networking and building relationships. It’s always a good idea to do some research on the workshop and the organizer, and see if they align with your career or business goals before you attend.
“Hello. Is this thing on? Can you hear me? I can see you but I can’t hear you.” Ryan Sean Kemp
Ahhh, this is a concept that many of us are very familiar with these days. Yes, it is possible to use a webinar to network with people. Webinars are online events that are typically focused on a specific topic or theme and are led by one or more presenters.
Webinars often include a chat feature or other interactive elements that allow attendees to connect with one another and exchange contact information. You can also connect with the presenter. Webinars usually have a Q&A session, where attendees can ask the presenter questions and connect with them, if the presenter is open to that. After the webinar, you can reach out to other attendees and start a conversation, through email or LinkedIn, this can help to build connections and start a professional relationship. Attend webinars that align with your goals: By attending webinars that align with your industry or profession, you will have more chances to connect with people who share your interests and goals.
And that’s our list. If you are looking for events in South Florida, you’ve come to the right place. SFIMA has event, lectures, happy hours, and more. Join the SFIMA family and we’ll see you at the next event!