What’s the difference between an exhibition and an expo? If you’re not sure, then our handy list of meeting and event terms will soon clear up any confusion. In no time at all, you’ll feel like an event expert.

Annual General Meetings (AGM)

An Annual General Meeting (also known as an AGM) is a meeting of the shareholders of a stock market listed company. They are gatherings designed to allow the board of directors to answer shareholders’ questions and other matters related to the running of the business. 

Board Meetings

A board meeting is a meeting of a company’s board of directors, usually held at particular times of the year to discuss company policies and make key decisions regarding the running of a company.

Breakout Session

A breakout session (also referred to as a breakout meeting) is when participants of a larger gathering break out into smaller groups to discuss particular points related to the meeting. It’s typical for breakout sessions to take place during training workshops, presentations and seminars.

Business Dinners 

A business dinner is typically a formal meal organised by a company often to celebrate a particular success or achievement. It’s also a great way to boost morale, reward employees and improve the quality of relationships within an organisation. 


Conferences are usually business events that comprise of a gathering of people who come together to ‘confer’ or discuss ideas around a common interest or subject. Conferences are sometimes referred to as ‘conventions’ but there are key differences. See ‘conventions’ to learn more.


A colloquium is an academic meeting, conference or networking event where participants can spend days listening to lectures with a group of like-minded experts in their field. It is an opportunity for them to present and share ideas. 


Shhh… don’t breathe a word but conclave meetings are secret assemblies. They’re confidential gatherings between influential individuals who meet to discuss important matters. 


Congress is typically a formal meeting or series of meetings involving those from a political party, trade union, or from within a particular sphere of activity.

Consumer Shows

As the term suggests, a consumer show is a trade show open to the general public. They are usually a large-scale showcase of various prototypes and inventions and appeal to people interested in the latest products. They often have an entrance fee. 


Conventions are like large-scale conferences with a few key differences. Unlike a conference, a convention can be both business or consumer related. Political parties, teachers, plumbers, gardeners, toymakers and computer designers all hold conventions and they are often repeated annually. 


An exhibition is a trade show that provides businesses with the opportunity to showcase their services and products to potential buyers or clients. 

Expo or Expositions

An Expo is an international trade show. In effect, it is an exhibition on a larger scale. A good example is The World’s Fair


Fairs are like trade shows but on a smaller scale. They are often used to exhibit arts and crafts, industrial and agricultural products.


A function is a social gathering that can be ceremonial in nature. 


A fundraiser is an event that is organised for the specific aim of raising money for a particular cause. 


A Gala is a special occasion at which there is entertainment, usually in the form of different types of performances, and often followed by dinner. 

‘Green’ Meetings

A ‘Green’ Meeting is an event that takes into consideration the carbon footprint of the gathering taking place to ensure sustainability. Considerations include use of renewal products, water consumption, and energy usage. 

International Events

An International Event is an event where a good proportion of the attendees are from outside the event host’s country. 


A meetup is a usually a small, informal meeting or gathering and can be for any reason – including dating, networking, board games, wine tasting and so on.

Networking Events

A Networking Event is an opportunity for professionals to meet new people. Some are casual, others are formal with more structure. It’s primarily a chance for people to make new business connections. 


A generic term for a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment.

Plenary or General Session

A Plenary or General Session is a meeting that kicks off an event. It usually involves all of the attendees at the conference or convention before it begins. 

Political Events

A political event is organised to promote a political party, candidate or stimulate interest among party members. Its purpose is to raise awareness of policies and generate donations. 

Press Conferences

Press conferences are organised by those who seek to generate publicity or make public announcements to attending journalists and news agencies. 

Product Launch Events

A product launch event is an effective way to launch a new product or service. Organisers often invite potential buyers, journalists, bloggers and influencers along to an event to raise awareness and create a buzz. 


A reception is an informal social occasion held to welcome someone or to celebrate an event. Attendees often stand and eat and drink, buffet style, rather than sit down at a table. 


A retreat is somewhere team members can switch off from the day to day and bond as a group by enjoying leisurely activities and collaborative experiences such as go-cart races, ski trips and ropes courses. 


A seminar is a small group session that gives attendees the opportunity to teach a specific skill or discuss a particular topic at some depth. Experts within their chosen field are often invited along to share their knowledge on topics such as finance, tech, marketing, investing and so on. 

Social Events

A social event, as the term suggests, is a gathering organised to celebrate a social occasion. Examples include weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or religious ceremonies.


A Symposium is a scholarly event where speakers present new ideas, papers, trends and developments in a given field and make recommendations.

Trade Shows

A Trade Show is an exhibition or event where businesses in a particular industry promote their services and products.


A Workshop is a structured, organised way for teams to meet up, work and learn as a team through collaborative activities.

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