Attending mass networking events to build your network is counterproductive unless you limit who you're there to see.
It's not a volume game; go for quality instead.
Your best network-building comes from few-to-few interactions; intimate encounters with one to a few people are much more productive than a big room full of people.
- Few will do anything with your business card. Don't hand one out unless sincerely asked.
- Don't drink or eat anything. The level of conversations you can have with both your hands free is multiplied exponentially.
- Create your own tribe. Don't join a group already conversing; look for the wallflower standing off to the side. They'll be aware of things the rest of the room isn't noticing. If others want to come join the group you've started...let them in.
- Meet new contacts ASAP. If someone gives you their contact information, ask if they want to have a 1-on-1 soon. If yes, let them know you'll reach out and schedule within the next business day. Do that.
- Help others. When you meet up with people you've met, find out what they need help with and either help them or put them in touch with someone who can. No strings attached.
This is how you build STRONG networks.