When you are choosing the right networking events for you there is an enormous choice. This includes both structured and unstructured networking. Unstructured networking tends to be an event where the organiser's main business is some other service. Many business owners and professionals find these a daunting experience. Business Networking membership organisations usually organise more structured events. Some of these are closed and some are open. So which approach suits you?
I have had several conversations recently on the subject of different types and styles of networking. One of these was written up by Mark Lee for an article on accountingweb on the subject of open and closed networking. I was contrasting the differing approaches in many structured networking groups between open and closed groups. Mark followed this up with another article from Tim Johnson of 4Networking. Tim explains more about open and closed structured networking here.
Closed groups have a rule of only one member per business category. Others (like NRG) are open to more people in the same category. My experience is that an open collaborative approach like this suits many business owners and professionals more than a closed one.
To find what works for you it is always best to try some. You could start by asking your trusted contacts where they network.