Professionals of all shapes and sizes can benefit from networking events. And what better way to round out 2018 and kickstart 2019 than with an extensive network of contacts that can help you grow in your career and beyond?
Networking events are a valuable tool for building your network, acquiring new opportunities and learning about the industry from the people that work in it.
Plus, the best networking events can help you learn what others in your field are doing, how they got there and how you can grow your brand within your industry. They are, ultimately, a great resource to have when you have questions or concerns because they have likely been in the same position or are in the same position now.
Professionals should constantly be growing and evolving. Just because you’re good at what you do now doesn’t mean there isn’t something new to learn — there’s always something new out there and you should seek it out.
And these networking conferences and summits are a great starting point because they can fill you with the information and the knowledge that can set you up for success in 2019 not just in your job, but in your entire professional life.
The good news? Networking events aren’t the boring mixers and cocktail hours of the past. Now they’re jam-packed with parties, talks and workshops that get you engaged and interacting with the content they’re providing and the professionals that are attending.
Yes, networking events are actually fun.
But you might be skeptical — aren’t networking events a waste of time? And we hear you, but there’s definitely a way to make the most of them.
How To Get The Most Out Of Networking Events
Some people might tell you that networking events are a waste of time. You’ll mingle for a few hours, discuss trivial topics and leave with a few numbers. But those contacts won’t go anywhere and you’ll end up getting nothing out of the experience except for some free food and drinks.
And that’s if you’re lucky.
But the networking event haters are wrong — well, sort of.
Traditional networking events aren’t necessarily the most helpful resources for the modern professional. If it involves a host of people sitting in a room discussing their careers and their goals, then yeah it might fall flat.
But networking events don’t have to just be events that stuff you and hundreds of others into an arena like a can of sardines and leave you at your own disposal. Some of the best networking events revolve around a certain topic or theme. They aim to teach you something, not just hope you make connections.
They inspire and inform and educate. And that’s what the below networking events can do, too.
To make the most of your networking event, you have to work a little bit. You can’t just show up and let things happen to you. You have to be proactive. You have to make those conversations, push for those connections and find some common ground that can link you.
A lot of these business and professional events are a great space for that because they gather a community of like-minded individuals who are all passionate about similar things. This fosters an atmosphere of openness and positivity that makes it more organic and fluid to make those connections and build your network.
Summits and conferences are extremely useful for professionals at all stages of the game. Whether you’re newly graduated or you’ve been in business for decades, it’s never too late to attend a networking event — the possible opportunities are exponential.
Networking events don’t just grow your community for the sake of it — they help you to grow as an individual and a professional. They are a springboard for ideas. They are a resource for job opportunities. They are mentors and educators and proteges.
All you have to do is make the first step and attend an industry event.
Take charge of your professional future and attend one of these events. They will not only give you insights into your industry that can help you become a better team member but also forge relationships built on common experiences that can help you years down the line. You might not need it now, but you might in the future.
And these networking events below are a great start!
11 Networking Events To Build Better Professional Connections This Winter
1. ICT 2018: Vienna, Austria — December 4-6
If you're a professional in the EU, this is the perfect, all-encompassing event for you. Not only can you learn about what new regulations, priorities and legislation will mean for you, but it will also provide you the perfect opportunity to connect with professionals that have the same questions and are seeking the same insights.
Learn how you can alternate your strategies and build your business for the future while simultaneously meeting with like-minded professionals at this networking event.
ICT 2018 will take place in Vienna on 4-6 December 2018. This research and innovation event will focus on the European Union’s priorities in the digital transformation of society and industry. It will present an opportunity for the people involved in this transformation to share their experience and vision of Europe in the digital age. In an open and participatory event, organized by the European Commission and the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, citizens can join science community members, policymakers, and fellow ICT-enthusiasts to discuss the future in a digital Europe.
2. Small Business Expo: Austin, Texas — December 6
If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner looking to try and pave your way in the industry, the Small Business Expo is the event for you. Meet up with similar professionals and gain access to invaluable insights, networking with a wide variety of individuals who all have something to offer your professional self.
Among the best cities in America to start a Small Business or Startup, Austin is alive with entrepreneurial activity, and Small Business Expo will be there again! The City has seen massive growth in recent years, and the number of small businesses is increasing every day. With established technology hubs, talent pools, and venture capital firms, Austin is growing faster than almost every other business environment in the country where small business is concerned. But its best feature for entrepreneurs and business owners might just be the supportive business community that welcomes – and encourages – new entrants into the market.
3. Hyperledger Global Forum: Basel, Switzerland — December 12-15
Enthusiasts in tech, business and more are all welcome to attend the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel Switzerland. This event is exciting, engaging and fun, and all attendees can look forward to a number of valuable networking opportunities to help them develop their skills and strengthen their capabilities and learn something new along the way!
Developers, vendors, enterprise end-users, and enthusiasts of business blockchain technologies will converge in Basel, Switzerland December 12–15, 2018 for the inaugural Hyperledger Global Forum. The first two days will feature a forum with keynotes, breakout sessions, and a technical showcase. The following two days will feature hands-on tutorials and workshop events. Come join us in Basel!
4. CES: Las Vegas, Nevada — January 8-11
CES is a huge event in the business and technological sphere. Marketers, IT experts, entrepreneurs and more are all welcome to come and learn about breakthrough tech and innovative trends in the industry. Full of experts, pioneers and creatives, CES is a melting pot of inspiration and talent that offers amazing networking opportunities for people of all ages.
CES is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), it attracts the world's business leaders and pioneering thinkers. As the largest hands-on event of its kind, CES features all aspects of the industry.
NRF is the leading conference for professionals in the retail community. It's a place for marketers, product developers, and CEOs alike. Learn from other leaders in the industry and establish partnerships in the market at this three-day conference dedicated to e-commerce and retail. The networking opportunities are expansive here.
It’s not a conference. It’s a community filled with the largest global audience and exhibitor base that could only come from NRF. NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show is a marketplace for ideas and relationships. A chance to forge new partnerships, try out best-in-class experiences, and learn from some of the biggest players transforming retail today. An event guaranteed to drive impact. Because after all, what’s the point of a show if you have nothing to show for it?
6. NamesCon: Las Vegas, Nevada — January 27-30
If you want to learn from industry experts as well as meet with similar professionals, then NamesCon is a great option. Brands and individuals alike are welcome to join in on all the fun. Strengthen your networking skills, forge valuable business partnerships and connect with brands across several industries. This exciting event is packed with insights and innovation -- all you have to do is register.
NamesCon Global is the largest annual domain-industry conference, attracting attendees from around the globe. Attendees will experience compelling keynotes, informative panels, and hands-on workshops led by industry experts. Aside from the actionable content, you'll see on stage, NamesCon also facilitates valuable personal connections by engaging social events and structured business networking opportunities. NamesCon will connect you to all aspects of the domain industry, from registrars, registries, web hosting companies, attorneys, brand managers, domain name investors, start-ups, affiliate marketing companies, parking companies, financial service providers, individual end-users, and everyone else in between! Surveyed attendees tell us every year that the networking at NamesCon is second to none. This is an energetic, 4-day event set against the backdrop of fabulous Las Vegas, so you'll have no shortage of activities to fill your schedule!
7. Network 2019: Miami, Florida — January 28-30
If business development is on your mind, Network 2019 is the one-stop shop for all your networking needs. This dedicated marketing plan is geared towards business professionals, providing them with the technologies that can help them develop a productive business strategy going forward. The relationships you create at this event are invaluable resources for the future.
MFA’s Network 2019 Conference is the Association’s primary business development and networking conference. Hailed as one of the top networking events for the alternative investments industry, MFA’s Network 2019 Conference brings together top allocators, fund managers and leading industry service providers together for one on one allocator meetings, educational programming and investor-led roundtable discussions for three informative days. The conference provides manager suites, a targeted one to one allocator to manager ratio, top institutional pension consultants and a focus on emerging business issues and trends that are critical to allocators and fund managers in the systematic and fundamental space. All meetings are facilitated through our digital platform, the MFA Conferences & Events App.
8. SaaStr Annual 2019: San Francisco, California — February 5-7
If you're in the business of software development and Software-as-a-Service technologies, SaaStr Annual 2019 is the one event you have to attend this year. Through powerful sessions, product demonstrations, mentoring events and more, you can develop a more robust strategy with the help of these evolving technologies. And while you're at it, put your heads together with similar professionals and make connections that will last a lifetime.
Once a year, 12,500+ SaaS executives, founders, and VCs come together for the SaaStr Annual, the largest non-vendor SaaS conference on the planet:
- 3+ full days with 200+ sessions from the best-of-the-best on how to scale faster
- 100+ of the best sponsors in the world
- 250+ VCs, including an entire day where the VCs pitch you
- 300+ speakers from the best SaaS companies across the world
- 1000+ Braindates, AMAs, and mentoring sessions
- SaaStr Annual is filled with specific actionable advice and learnings to help grow your business from $0 to $100M ARR. No commercials, no paid content, no boring panels. Every session is hand screened and vetted to help you learn.
Our unparalleled session content is just the beginning. SaaStr is all about our community. We provide endless opportunities to meet and network with peers from every role, function, industry, company size, and beyond. You have never experienced an event quite like this. If you are a B2B founder, exec or investor -- please come!!
9. Startup Grind Global Conference: Redwood City, California — February 12-13
Startups, listen up! This global conference is the place where you can spread your wings and fly, learning from the successes and failures of other professionals and business owners who attend. The startup world is fast-paced and aggressive. And there's so much you can learn. And this event can give you that robust education while also allowing you to network with others and learn on a one-on-one scale.
With 5,000 founders and investors, more than 40 keynote and fireside sessions, and over 50 exhibiting startups, this is Startup Grind's largest event ever. Bringing together great content and great people in an incredible setting, injecting some custom-built networking technology, and topping it all off with an unrivaled feeling of intimacy is how we guarantee amazing business and an awesome time.
10. New Work Summit: Half Moon Bay, California — February 25-26
Artificial intelligence is an emerging industry, with features that have advanced exponentially in recent years. And this conference, put on by the New York Times, can help to pinpoint the new opportunities this tech will provide. It will also bring together experts across the tech industry to explore how these technologies will drive the business world -- giving attendees insights into how they can transform their business with the future. And after a long day of learning, what better way to de-stress than with a networking cocktail hour?
Next February, The New York Times will convene powerful leaders at its annual New Work Summit to assess the opportunities and risks that are now emerging as artificial intelligence accelerates its transformation across industries. In provocative discussions with celebrated visionaries – top venture capitalists, C.E.O.s, policymakers, entrepreneurs, social scientists and others – senior Times journalists will explore and analyze the technologies driving the greatest change today. Complementing the on-stage discussions, interactive breakout sessions will give attendees the chance to dive deeper into key innovations and apply them to the organizations they lead. This unique annual gathering will once again take place in the spectacular setting of Half Moon Bay, California.
11. Traffic And Conversion Summit: San Diego, California — February 25-27
If you're a marketer whose job is based on ROIs and trackable data and statistics, the Traffic And Conversion Summit could push you to the top of the pack. These events are geared towards businesses and marketers. And they give them actionable advice for tracking progress, how to do it, what works best and what strategies get the best results. But this event also brings together professionals in the same industry, meaning there is plenty of opportunities to network, make connections and better your professional self.
Every year, thousands of the world's smartest marketers descend on San Diego, California to learn what's new, what's hot, and what's actually working RIGHT NOW in digital marketing. Traffic & Conversion Summit is more than your typical "Rah! Rah!" pump-you-up conference. It's 3 days of strictly actionable strategies and content. In fact, we have a strict "no theory" policy when it comes to our sessions. Why? Because everything you see and hear at Traffic & Conversion Summit is tested, proven, and tested again to ensure that you're getting what you came for: a plan that will make a positive impact on your business. If you think you have heard everything that is working in Digital Marketing, you haven't been to Traffic & Conversion Summit yet.
The Real Reason Networking Events Are So Popular — And How The Right One Can Transform Your Career
The abovementioned networking events run the gamut — whether you’re a marketer or advertiser, an entrepreneur or small business owner or the CEO of a major company, there’s an event for you to attend that can drastically transform your professional life and put you on the path to success.
Networking events are powerful, and they can really open your eyes to how you are as a professional and what others are looking for. But they take work — you have to want it, to win it as they say.
You can’t just show up, lurk in the corner and hope for the best. You have to initiate conversation. You have to want to learn. You have to promote yourself and your talents to get noticed.
But these networking events definitely work in your favor because they are so much more than just an event to mingle and engage in small talk.
These events are full of empowering and insightful panels, one-on-ones and workshops that will help give you the tools you need to be at the top of your game. The events create an experience that you can share with other like-minded professionals and this fosters a bond that is stronger than anything you’d create at a two-hour cocktail mixer.
These networking events are great for any and all professionals and are the building blocks for the rest of your career. You don’t want to miss out on all of these exciting and innovative opportunities — and what better New Year’s resolution than one more LinkedIn connection, right?
Can’t wait for winter? Check out these fall networking conferences and summits on the DesignRush site!