Quantity matters less than quality. You could knock yourself silly trying to network with everyone in the room, allocating each person a few minutes of your time then buggering off. But people won’t enjoy it, and they’ll probably want to avoid you next time. The same goes for only networking with people in your industry or social group. It’s the perfect way to get all insular. It’s your job to widen your reach, meeting up with new and exciting people full of potential. If you only meet one of them, it’ll serve you better than glad-handing fifty less relevant folk.
Good networking is all about creating a small number of solid relationships built on mutual trust, not trying to create hundreds of loose relationships based on smoke and mirrors. Think of it as making new friends rather than ships passing in the night. Don’t expect instant miracles either. It takes time for people to develop confidence in one another, and it’s worth investing time and effort. Connect with people on a personal level, not just business. You don’t need to end up best friends forever, but you do need to build something meaningful.