Networking Events versus Trade Shows

networking events

This year is coming to a close, and as a result many campus rec professionals are finalizing their budgets for 2019. How much will you dedicate to equipment? To renovation and capital improvements?

What about continuing education? If you’re like most fitness professionals, your continuing education budget likely includes a trip to an industry trade show, which will introduce you to hundreds of vendors and products over the span of two or three days. In fact, trade shows are great for this very purpose.

But what if you’re looking for something a bit more intimate where you have the opportunity to network and learn from peers? Then you should consider dedicating a portion of your budget to an industry networking event, which typically max out at 75 people and offer a learning environment full of roundtables, case studies and networking activities.

The Pros of Networking Events

Networking events are great for those seeking to problem solve and pick other attendee’s brains on issues they too may be struggling with or have already solved. And these relationships are those that often last a lifetime.

In fact, this is exactly why Dustin Soderman, the associate director of facilties and operations at Arizona State University, enjoyed attending the Campus Rec Leadership Summit this year. “The Campus Rec Leadership Summit was truly a transformative experience,” he said. “For me, it allowed me to pair with a small number of individuals in the field with a tremendous amount of experience and we were all able to share and learn from each other which was a great result.”

As you plan your continuing education budgets for 2019, consider making room for an industry networking event. For those seeking to make deeper connections with both vendors and peers, it may just be the perfect fit.

Rachel is the Editor and Chief of Peake Media. She can be reached at

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