I have written this previously and I like to update my stance. I now have been to numerous networking events and some things have not changed. If you’re an organization that has tons of members and people have RSVP, please hold it at a ballroom of a hotel or an open place and not four rooms that can hold 400 altogether, and it’s a size of a trailer park hallway and throw in 2000 people in the hallway. People love to get hammered, but even that’s a little much.
I don’t mind small networking events, but you really do not have a long reach to get who you want. If you want a perfect prototype of doing a networking event, try the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN). There are several chapters, but the DC one is the most efficient. The last networking event I went to, there were 20-30 people and the space was good. Also, they’re the same peers and close to the same age bracket, so the conversation and chemistry is very good.
I do think social network sites are useful and provide guidance. I’ll admit, I wish I want to do all networking on the internet, but when you meet face-to-face with someone else and there’s an actual conversation, it will get somewhere. Just think of networking as speed dating and you pick up as many numbers as you can. The only difference is you can have more than once choice at these networking events.