I have just returned from a weekend at WOMAD, the 'World of Music Arts and Dance' Festival. We would have enjoyed the experience as a family on our own, but it was much better as part of a group. In the family area of the camp site our group of about 30 people had its own communal area. We had our own space with 12 tents pitched around 2 gazebos. The social interactions were an integral part of the enjoyment, but it went much further than that. There was always someone to help with a problem or share some news. We were able to learn about the best places for food, drink, music and all the other facilities from each other.
Our little WOMAD social network is representative of the networks we are typically involved in. It is organised around a shared interest. In this case the type of music and arts at WOMAD. Our other networks are usually formed around similar shared interests and this includes our business network.
The activity of business networking as about building a network around your business activities. It is about having a community of friends and acquaintances where the success of each other in business is the shared interest.
Your business will be part of a much wider community, but as with our little WOMAD one your own network needs to be made up of a manageable number of people. It is also social and about sharing support and knowledge as much as it is about business.