Networking does not happen only when the title of the meeting says "Networking" or when it's specifically called out in the agenda.... Actually, when it's in an agenda, that's when most folks slip out of the room to check e-mail or catch the train home!
Networking isn't an activity outside of our regular days. Networking is every greeting, every meeting, every chance encounter and every time you have the chance to introduce your self/team/purpose.
We are constantly strengthening existing connections and making new ones. While setting aside time in an agenda to do this is terrific - we should realize it is happening constantly and make the most of the opportunities.
I am planning a business meeting for 100+ folks Wedsnesday! (thus only one post this week) I expect the attendees to talk as a table, as a larger group, as peers and as friends. I'm mixing up the seating so folks will find themselves with the know and unknown. I'm driving conversation in groups of 8, 100 and 2!
Nowhere do I use the word networking - not in the agenda, speaking notes or subjects. Yet, I know if this event is successful that networking will be the piece that makes it so.