Structured vs Unstructured Networking: What’s Better?


Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of buzz around networking and how it can help professionals further their career or boost their business – and for good reason. According to the Harvard Business Review, 95% of people said that face-to-face meetings are a key factor in successfully building and maintaining long-term business relationships.

Though the general consensus is that networking is very valuable, there’s debate between which type of networking works best: structured or unstructured. While there are obviously pros and cons to both, the real answer lies in what you want your participants to take away from an event. Let’s examine further.

Structured Networking Events:

Structured networking events typically work best when you want your participants to walk away with solid, serious new business connections. The controlled environment helps people maximize their time and meet targeted individuals. It prevents distractions and focuses solely on building business relationships. And with structure, attendees have the peace of mind ahead of time that they will be paired with people whose interests align with theirs.

Unstructured Networking Events:

Unstructured networking events usually work better when you want people to simply mix & mingle. While these types of events can certainly be fun, they sometimes don’t lead to as many new or useful connections. Without structure, some participants find it hard to approach people and branch out from those they already know. And even those who do branch out have no way of knowing which people are going to be the most valuable to them.  

All in all, both types of events can be a great way to bring people together. When deciding which event type is best for you, consider what your end goals are. Are you truly trying to connect new people or are you simply wanting your participants to socialize, mingle, and build on the relationships they already have?

If structured networking sounds more in-line with your overall business objectives, try speed networking. offers event management and advanced matching technology to create high impact networking events.

Email for more information.