Networking is essential in growing your organization and creating business opportunities. While your knowledge and skills are vital to business success, who you know plays an integral part of the process.
Since networking opportunities are broad, finding an event that can help you find mutually beneficial relationships can be challenging.
In this article, you will learn more about the different business networking events that you can attend to generate business referrals and increase sales.
- Chamber of commerce events
- Trade shows
- Roundtable discussions
- Community service events
- Local meetups or happy hour events
- Speed networking
1. Chamber of commerce events
Chamber of commerce groups hold local business networking events like charity fundraisers, workshops, mixers, and business card exchanges.
They help you meet prospective employers, business partners, clients, and suppliers that are ideal for business opportunities and referrals.
As an attendee, you can discuss the best success stories and strategies for learning with others. Also, you can get updated on the latest community news and industry trends.
An event usually follows a program consisting of talks, workshops, and networking sessions.
Conducting an impactful workshop or delivering a killer presentation is always a good idea. You can provide more details about your business to the audience than only engaging in a quick conversation.
Regularly attending a chamber of commerce event is vital in forming meaningful relationships, but there are time constraints on every part.
As you begin your introductions, make sure to accompany your handshake with a business card to make a lasting professional impression.
Participating in this type of event requires time and effort. However, keep in mind that you can increase an organization's visibility and quickly expand a business network with it.
2. Trade shows
A trade show is an exhibition that can offer high-impact networking opportunities. It brings industry professionals together to display and promote their latest products and services.
It's usually held at a large expo center where companies set up their booths. People are free to ask for more product details from representatives at every booth.
To increase your networking success, make sure to check the event attendees beforehand. List down the companies and people you are interested in meeting and connecting with.
If you are an eCommerce business owner, it's highly recommended that you review the user analytics on your website, online store, or app.
You can start to create potential customer profiles from it, whether you are targeting business entrepreneurs or young professionals.
We recommend that you explore every possible group to manage time wisely by networking with the right demographic.
An industry conference offers a prime opportunity for meeting like-minded people. It’s a great place to get the latest industry trends, learn new things, and build relationships with people beneficial to your business or career success.
You will be exposed to social functions like dinners, trips, or parties–a great way to start in-person professional networking.
Furthermore, it allows you to learn more about your colleagues and meet other industry leaders.
As you enjoy the company of others, you can also open yourself to a joint venture or a high-quality referral.
Networking isn’t limited only to the participants. You can also make connections with presenters as well. You’re free to share ideas, ask questions, and expand on discussed topics with them.
If you’re new to this type of event for professionals, you can first volunteer to organize a conference for brand visibility. Another option is to present workshops and exhibit your expertise and skills.
The cost of attending conferences can be a pricey proposition. To make the experience budget-friendly, opt for the local ones, become a conference event volunteer, or choose to register to only a part of it.
4. Roundtable discussions
If you are interested in discussing or debating a particular topic with a small group of people, participating in a roundtable discussion is the best way to go.
It's a great way to share your knowledge and learn to see things from a different perspective. The goal of a roundtable discussion is to keep conversations insightful and respectful.
Sponsoring or hosting a roundtable meeting for business networking can help you raise your profile as a thought leader and connect with other professionals.
Moreover, it can also pave the way to learn from your peers as it discusses topics surrounding many business operations.
The seating style for your participants can either be open or assigned. If you choose the latter, group them based on their industry, job title, or preferred topics.
While a roundtable discussion's primary goal is to share expert industry advice or trends, it's also a great way to discuss a topic with opposing views.
5. Community service events
You can learn new skills, advance your career, make friends, and even lead a more fulfilled life whenever you attend or volunteer at a community service event.
What’s more, giving back to the community can help your organization become more visible.
While it may not necessarily open you to direct business as you network through it, your exposure can give you new leads.
Community service groups such as Lions Club International and Rotary Club provide opportunities to members and volunteers. These are helpful in building leadership skills or creating interactions with donors and other volunteers.
Joining a service group is one of the best ways to help your community as you expand your business network.
However, your purpose shouldn’t solely focus on making professional relationships. It’s important that you always serve others with passion.
6. Local meetups or happy hour events
A happy hour networking event is a practical, low-cost way to meet new people in the industry. As a casual and unstructured one, you can come and go as you please.
For example, you can attend a wine night for marketing professionals or join fellow IT consultants at a local coffee shop for a networking breakfast.
There are plenty of benefits that you get when participating in meet-ups locally. First, it's often free or less expensive compared to other types of networking events.
Secondly, it won't cost a lot or require too much commitment when traveling to get there.
Lastly, since the event attendees are from your local area, keeping in touch with them will be easy.
A happy hour event can surely expand your business network and develop your career.
However, we advise you to skip it if you're actively looking for a job. There are chances of making the wrong impression to a potential employer due to its laid-back structure.
7. Speed networking
Speed networking is an excellent way for professionals to accelerate relationship-building in the industry.
It encourages you to meet people and acquire new contacts in a short amount of time.
Participating in discussions can open you to a mutually beneficial relationship as you exchange ideas and insights revolving around career or business.
Keeping your goals in mind from the beginning is a must. Determine the message you want to convey to the people you meet, and get your point across efficiently.
When you're in a one-on-one meeting with another professional, always prepare an introduction, ask a few questions, and share contact information. Once it has come to an end, you can proceed to talk to the next person.
If you're interested in a full-suite networking platform for business, Glue Up's Speed Networking Software solution can do the work for you.
It's ideal for anyone who wants to participate in an online networking event and engage in a one-on-one chat.
It packs excellent features for building professional connections through discussions like an event room, a community hub, and a meeting request functionality.
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