Networking events vs. events to network

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By J.H. Lee

I was recently asked a question to determine the difference between actual networking events and events in which to network. Believe it or not, there is a distinct difference between the two.

If you are an individual who enjoys the activity of networking, any event that you attend can be considered a networking event. It could be a party, wedding reception, grand opening, etc. It really doesn't matter, as long as there are people to meet and interact with.

This perspective suggests that the world is your platform. Well, for an individual who really has networking implanted in his or her heart, anywhere and everywhere becomes an opportunity to network. This also might suggest that the type of event one might be attending is irrelevant in relation to the perspective of the networker.

However, as mentioned above, there is a distinct difference between specific networking events and all others. For example, I have heard people call seminars and conventions networking events. It is completely possible to conduct business networking at these events but they are not, in effect, networking events.

Specific examples of networking events are: business card exchanges, networking happy hours, speed networking events, and after-work business mixers. These are events that are intentionally organized with business networking as the central focus. In other words, there are detailed and specific measures taken when preparing these events that encourage business networking.

It is a person's prerogative whether they would like to network at an event which clearly has a different objective. This might seem obvious, but there is some confusion over the different options. This is why explaining the distinct difference is relevant.

There is a wide variety of events and the ones that fall into the business category often are confused with networking events. Tradeshows, business expos, job fairs, and conferences are not specific networking events unless they are specifically organized to be.

The above also might define your inner attitude toward mingling and networking with people in general. If you view a conference or seminar as a networking event, this suggests that you are a socially confident individual. In other words, you openly and generously welcome networking opportunities when they present themselves.

Reprinted with permission from

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