Size counts or so it seems in networking circles where the larger the crowd the better. Or is it better? I’m not so sure.
Networking events with large numbers of attendees tend to be a tad chaotic as everyone stands around jockeying for position and glancing here, there and everywhere trying to make eye contact and see who is in the room. Never mind that they’re engaged in conversation with someone else, the idea that there might be someone “better” seems to be a common theme.
The large events are also loud and attendees pretty much have to shout to be heard. Imagine a room with 50 or more all raising their voices in the hopes that their words can be heard. Frightening actually.
And of course the depth of conversation is simply quite limited. There are attendees that see networking as a sport in which the one that gives out (and possibly gathers) the most cards wins. Of course giving and getting cards doesn’t mean that any sort of meaningful conversation ensued; it just means that a small piece of card stock was transferred between two people, neither really knowing much about the other person and, as most networkers know darn well, the quality of follow-up from these types of encounters is pretty dismal as well.
On the opposite side of the spectrum we have small gatherings of networking kindred spirits, 4, 6 or even 8 individuals that gather for a few hours to share a meal along with information about their business pursuits; substantive conversation that provides excellent insights into the participants’ expertise, interests and hobbies and enables everyone to gain the confidence that is required to make introductions and provide leads.
Less chaotic, more substance and in general, the necessary follow-up occurs because everyone has had the opportunity to really get to know the other individuals at the table and WANTS to keep the dialogue going.
So you decide. 6 or 60. Bigger might not necessarily be better.