Check Out These 11 Unique Professional Networking Event Ideas
In need of a few creative professional networking event ideas for your upcoming corporate gathering? At Peerspace, we get it! Networking events are key to successful business relationships in many industries. But let’s face it — sometimes they can be awkward or feel like a chore. The best networking events create a space for attendees to make genuine connections. In fact, they can lead to job offers, collaborations, new project ideas, sales, and more.
And if you’re in need of a professional, inviting space to host your networking event, Peerspace has you covered there, too. As the largest online marketplace for hourly venue rentals, you can easily use our platform to book a fresh space to suit your event. But for now, let’s get on to our suggestions! If you’re planning to host an event for your industry, you can facilitate connections with these unique professional networking event ideas.
1. Throw a speed networking event
Simply gathering a lot of people in a room together doesn’t guarantee a successful networking event. Depending on your industry, your guests may need some encouragement to interact with each other. Give them a push in the right direction by hosting a “speed networking” activity. This is a lot like speed dating but with a focus on professional “dates” rather than romantic ones.
You can set up tables or chairs with numbered stations and assign pairs or trios to each station for a three-to-five-minute date. Provide a prompt to facilitate discussion and keep each interaction short. Attendees can continue their discussions later during the rest of the event. If the weather is right, plan on booking a venue with plenty of outdoor space so that attendees feel more comfortable.
2. Host a TikTok party
Social media has become an important networking tool in many industries. Some professionals turn to LinkedIn and Twitter to forge industry connections and seek out new jobs. Depending on your industry, TikTok may be a more relevant and exciting platform to go with. Professionals may already use the platform and know one another from it! Make the most of these connections by coming up with a unique hashtag for your event. Encourage your guests to interact with each other on social media, and reach out to online friends whom they haven’t met yet.
3. Rent a unique Peerspace venue
A big part of throwing a successful networking event is choosing the right venue. You’ll want a space that offers plenty of room to mingle safely. Be sure to consider logistics, too. You don’t want the venue so crowded that your guests will have trouble hearing each other or finding each other in the crowd. Rooftop venues can be a great option for professional networking events, as are chic artist lofts and/or creative coworking spaces.
Luckily, Peerspace offers a range of networking event venues available to rent directly from local hosts. You can choose from spaces with A/V gear, on-site bars, catering facilities, and more.
Here are a few of our favorite options to get you started:
- This rooftop with panoramic views in San Francisco (pictured above) with room for 20 guests, tables and chairs, a projector, and food and beverage catering
- This beautifully designed conference center in Chicago with space for 150 guests, a projector, a screen, breakout space, a kitchen, and flexible seating
- This stunning two-level luxury loft in Atlanta with room for 150 guests with modular furnishings, a kitchen, a balcony, chairs, surround sound, and parking
- This Tribeca meeting loft in NYC with space for 75 guests, a dual-wall immersion projector, a kitchen, tables and chairs, and breakout space
- This downtown urban event hall in Phoenix with space for 125 guests, an open ballroom, two outdoor areas, and a kitchen
You get the idea! Peerspace offers you access to thousands of stylish and well-equipped spaces in cities globally. Book one of these incredible spaces or start your own search to discover someplace new near you!
Check out our guide on hosting a dinner party to ensure your hosting skills are on point!
4. Make room for introverts
These days, many industries have become more inclusive of people with diverse social and physical needs. Why not do the same and try to make your event welcoming to all kinds of people?
For example, not everyone is comfortable engaging with a large crowd or being at an event that offers alcohol. Why not rent a Peerspace venue that has separate breakout rooms so you can provide introverts a space to recharge? Ask your host in advance about the layout to ensure that your venue is suitable for your group’s needs. It’s these types of thoughtful details that your attendees will remember and appreciate.
5. Attend a trivia night
Trivia nights can be a fun professional networking event idea when you just want to get a group of people from your industry together to socialize.
For example, Young Professionals of Seattle hosts a monthly Happy Hour and Trivia Night designed to get its members low-key interacting. There’s no pressure to land a new job or client, just a chance to get to know each other over a round of group trivia. Spread the word on Meetup to invite new people to your event.
6. Start a mastermind group
In fact, a group of entrepreneurs in Portland, OR, started CAKEpdx (Consulting And Knowledge Exchange) to give startup founders and small business owners a place to bounce ideas off of each other and get feedback on their projects. The small group size and facilitated meetings make this format more accessible for people who struggle to be heard at an open-ended networking event.
7. Host a panel or forum
Events featuring a speaker or panel discussion can be a great professional networking event idea because they give the group something to discuss. Invite a local business leader to give a presentation about their work or company.
For a smaller activity, host a Lunch With a Leader event so that everyone who attends can interact with the featured guest. It’s a unique way for attendees to learn valuable new skills while making new connections.
8. Plan an interactive salon
No, you won’t be giving each other new haircuts. A traditional “salon” is a type of gathering that was popular in Europe among artists and intellectuals — a kind of 18th-century TED talk. At yours, one or more of your guests gets to deliver a lecture on a topic of interest and respond to questions from the audience. Rent a breezy house on Peerspace to give it a casual, living-room vibe.
9. Throw a silent disco
Silent discos are a great professional networking event idea because it’s easy to find a quiet place to carry on a conversation — just take off your headphones! First, hire a team to provide the equipment and the music. Your guests can dance to the music of their choice (usually two or three different options) or network with other guests without leaving the dance floor.
Our great social mixer ideas can provide more networking inspiration. Check them out!
10. Host a barbecue or pool party
Who says professional networking events can’t be fun? If it’s summer, enjoy the good weather by throwing a party at one of the many Peerspace venues that include a pool or hot tub. And you can filter your search results to find spaces that include the amenities you’re looking for. This is easily one of the most laid-back professional networking event ideas.
11. Offer a photo session
Many professionals need headshots, so offering them for free or at a reduced rate at your event is a great way to draw a crowd. You can also rent a Peerspace venue that includes a photo area and lighting equipment and hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your guests. If your event is for creative professionals, host a meetup for actors and models to network with photographers, with the option of doing a photoshoot on-site.
Bonus: Focus on wellness
If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic era, it’s that corporations haven’t always offered their employees much in terms of wellness benefits. But your networking event can provide inspiration to your guests by embracing it.
Consider renting a Peerspace like this suburban upscale wellness center in Hoffman Estates, IL. It’s a yoga studio ideal for meditations and movement workshops, allowing your networkers to connect in a unique and more mindful way.
Professional networking event ideas: conclusion
Networking events don’t have to be boring. Although some professional networking event ideas are more suitable for some industries than others, you can find ways to host creative activities no matter what kind of event you have in mind. We think these 11 ideas will give you plenty of inspiration. Remember, you can keep browsing Peerspace to find even more great venues.
If you aren’t sure whether a venue will be the right fit for your event, you can ask your local host directly for personalized suggestions. In many cases, they’ll be able to find the perfect caterer, photographer, event staff, or DJ to go along with your booking. As you can imagine, Peerspace can make planning your networking event so much easier.