Difference Between a Networking Meeting and a Networking Event


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What is the difference between a networking meeting and a networking event?

This is a frequently asked question for people who are starting out on the networking scene.

A networking event and a networking meeting serve similar purposes but differ in their format, scale, and level of formality.

Let’s break it down under these six pillars so that you can begin to differentiate what networking events you are attending and manage your expectations accordingly.

Networking Events

Examples of networking events are panels, seminars, conferences, trade shows, AGMs, golf outings, club events and other learning and training environments.

  • Format: Gatherings at events are typically larger.  Attendees tend to come from various professional and personal backgrounds and industries.
  • Scale: Gatherings can be small or large.
  • Purpose: Generally the aim is to foster the exchanging of information amongst attendees and facilitating connections.
  • Activities: Attendees will come together for presentationns, panels, workshops or informal mingling sessions.
  • Formality: There is generally no structured agenda and the atmosphere may be more casual.  Food and drink would be normal and there is general a speaker of some nature who is the ‘lead magnet’ to entice attendance.
  • Frequency: The events are generally ad hoc.  For example, Chambers often run an AGM or golf outing that would be classed as a networking event.

Networking Meetings

Networking meetings can be hosted by Chambers of Commerce and business referral networks as the typical examples.

  • Format: The meetings are usually smaller. The gatherings are more intimate, involving a limited number of participants.
  • Scale: Generally they involve a smaller group, often comprising individuals with specific interests or purposes.
  • Purpose: They are typically focused on specific topics, goals, or agendas such as discussing collaborations, exploring business opportunities, or seeking advice.
  • Activities: They are generally more structured with a specific agenda, such as roundtable discussions, one-on-one meetings, or presentations tailored to the group’s interests.
  • Formality: They tend to be more formal compared to networking events, with clear objectives and run to a specific time allotment.
  • Frequency: Networking meetings tend to run to a strict schedule, e.g. once per month, twice a month or weekly.
  • In Summary

    While both networking events and networking meetings offer opportunities for professional connections and relationship-building, the main differences lie in their scale, format, purpose, frequency and level of formality. Networking events are often larger and more casual, while networking meetings tend to be smaller, more focused, and structured.

  • There are many differences, but once of the most important differences is the frequency.  Consistency in networking is key to success.  I’ll be discussing why consistency in networking is important in an upcoming blog!

Looking For Networks?

If you’re interested in finding out about more networks, search Networks on the blog to see the reviews and overviews that have been written.

Connecting With Jean

You can reach out to me at hello@networkingjean.ie.

NetworkMe Podcast

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Jean Evans
Jean Evans
Jean Evans is an expert on all things networking. It is her passion, and one that is borne out of experience and plenty of trial and error, mistakes and mishaps. Through her blogs and social media channels, Jean shares tips, tricks, hacks and ideas on how to become an effective networker in business.

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