Networking comes in many different varieties. You will likely have a different experience at each event you go to. Knowing what to expect when you get there is key to feeling comfortable and successfully making connections. First, there are two ways to describe networking, by the type of event, and the type of group. You will see these icons on the individual listings on the Locations page.
Different types of Networking Events
Open Networking Event
No or very brief structured agenda, typically an open room for milling around and meeting people. Seating is usually limited and not encouraged. It is up to you to start conversations and exchange business cards. You have to work the room to make this type of networking productive. Drinks and or food are common. No registration required.
Round Robin Networking Event
Structured meeting with a facilitator, typically in a seated room. You will have an opportunity to speak for 30-90 seconds, so have your elevator pitch ready. Business cards are passed around the room, so bring more than you think you will need. There is a brief time of open networking before and after the Round Robin. No registration required.
Speed Networking Event
Similar to speed dating, this meeting guarantees you 2 minutes of facetime with a number of people, typically ¼ to ½ of the room depending on how many are in attendance. Registration usually required.
Programmed Networking Event
Very structured with a schedule of speakers and sometimes a meal. There may be opportunities for round robin and/or open networking before and/or after. May require a fee and pre-registration.
This is a programmed event that is not necessarily a networking event…but that doesn’t mean you can’t network. Community events, classes or conferences, fundraisers and galas fit here. May require a fee and pre-registration.
Different types of Networking Group
All-inclusive (or Free) Group
Available to anyone of any industry, with no limitations.
(CRN, CRC, Startup Junkie, NWAYP, WIN, PWN)
Members Only Group
Available to anyone of any industry who are paid members of a certain organization.
Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimist Club, etc
Available to only one member of each industry; application and fees are typical.
Available to members of a certain industry only; application and fees are typical.
Rachel is a graphic and web designer who helps small businesses and non-profits improve their marketing efforts. She owes a major part of the success of her design business to local networking, both through the people she has met and the principles she has learned.