Everyone needs to eat. When I was employed I used to use my lunch times to meet people in my network. Grabbing a coffee or a sandwich with someone you really want to meet, can be an easy way to get a meeting with someone.
How about inviting a few of your network for a meal? That way, they get to make new connections, you gain precious social capital, but more importantly you have been able to spend high quality face-to-face time with several members of your network at the same time.
When you are networking over a meal, remember to order slightly less than usual so that you can focus on the conversation.
If you are using networking to find your next role, then aim to breakfast, lunch, grab coffees, have a beer with as many people as possible.
A good book to read to find out who to network effectively while you eat is Keith Ferrazzi’s book – ‘Never Eat Alone’