In much the same way that somebody learns and grows personally by sharing with other people, entrepreneurs also need to interact with others to grow professionally, making it essential for their careers. Networking events provide the ideal scenario for individuals and businesses to engage with other individuals, companies, investors, and organizations. Networking leads to mutually beneficial relationships that can help both parties succeed by lowering costs, becoming more efficient, reaching bigger audiences, improving overall profit, and scaling.
There’s plenty of ways to find networking events. While results may vary, businesses that decide to participate and position their brand in these events give themselves the highest opportunity for success.
Types of Networking Events
Business networking events come in different shapes and sizes. Knowing what separates the various types of events will help you seek out those that pertain to your particular objectives. Whether it be looking for a job or investment, perfecting an idea, finding a partner or provider, or solely exchanging business acumen, there is sure to be a networking event you’d enjoy.
Happy Hour Networking Meetups
Imagine a friend that knows you and your business as well as other entrepreneurs and businesses. Say one day that friend invites all his connections to his favorite bar to have a drink, including you. While there, your friend introduces everyone casually and gets the first round of drinks. Without knowing it, you are now in a happy-hour networking meetup. For those who get butterflies in their stomach thinking about what to say at networking events, this type of event’s laid-back atmosphere can help take the pressure off by making small talk and approaching strangers in a more casual experience.
Now suppose that night, the same friend picks a select group between the businesses that attended and invites them back home for a more private discussion about a particular subject. While at the house, your friend sets the topic of the conversation and moderates the roundtable so that everyone has a chance to speak, share their thoughts, and listen to others’ opinions when it’s their turn to speak. In the end, your friend opens a space for follow-up questions and closing remarks. Once again, you have attended a networking event without knowing it, this time, a roundtable discussion. Roundtable events facilitate respectful conversations in an open forum that promotes the exchange of knowledge and ideas. With a structured protocol where one speaks while the others listen, they tend to be more formal than other casual events like happy hour meetups. Still, with some moderating skills and a few other tips, you too can host your own roundtable discussion.
Now let’s suppose you didn’t get invited, you don’t know what to do at networking events, or you simply want to reach networks bigger than your friend’s. In any case, your best bet would be to go to an event where you could find larger audiences and all the different formats gathered under the same roof. Trade Shows allow brands to set up booths in often-large venues where a particular industry can meet to exhibit products and services for thousands of attendees. The best events for entrepreneurs manage to seamlessly combine business and educational opportunities in a fun and engaging atmosphere. Whether you attend as an individual or invest in getting a booth for your business, participating in trade show events is guaranteed to be a positive experience all around.
Networking During Covid
Before you start googling “networking events near me,” take some time to update yourself on social distancing instructions from your local government and national health agencies. With the pandemic restricting human interaction, a lot has changed for networking. While some are opting for virtual encounters to replace traditional channels, many agree that these virtual exchanges, at least under today’s technology, are just not the same as face-to-face interactions. As the situation gradually returns to normal, and we understand how to better protect ourselves from spreading the virus, many top-tier hosts are adjusting their safety protocols to once again welcome crowds that are ready to return to networking.
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This post was written by Cesar Jimenez