Networking Events: What Makes them Work?

Cynthia Cheng

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Since its establishment, Prospere Magazine has attended and covered a variety of different networking events.  Some of the events seem to target a specific age group  – for example, FastLane attendees tend to be under 40, while others I’ve been to were industry-specific or ones which target women.  Sometimes, there are events which aren’t meant to be industry-specific, but turn out to be.  Those are actually the worst, as attendees don’t get a chance to network with people from other industries even though they are hoping to do so.  Typically in these events, outsiders are left out, while insiders get to trade tips. These are of course not good networking events.  But what makes a good event?

Deb Lewis of Toronto City Events partners with Gathering Events for FastLane, to organize a series of networking events held at Toronto area bars and restaurants. According to her, organization and marketing is key.  Ms. Lewis believes that a “good event is a result of the right audience usually driven by branding, credibility and location, and what that image can project. Having a variety of people looking to network, as well as a few different elements to keep the audience occupied ensures success at the event”.  The idea of networking is to meet new people with common interest, learn new things and most of all, have fun.  Toronto-based jewellery designer, Gay Isber would agree.  Every month, she holds events for women where they can meet and connect, while at the same time, have fun (activities include cooking, making jewellery, etc).  Ms. Isber’s events are so popular that there are women who come from out-of-town!  It is important to draw people with activities they’re interested in.  It shouldn’t just be about the food and an opportunity to meet. 

Networking events shouldn’t be conventions.  It should be a place where people make new connections that help individuals advance their own careers.  As noted, the best ones are those which not only have good venues and activities, but good marketing as well.  Of course, networking events aren’t only just about marketing the individual, it is also about marketing the party itself.

Image © Dmitriy Shironosov/iStock Photo