has anyone tried networking out?

im looking into it and am going to a BNI breakfast on friday and im also about to buy into a networking group.

just wondering what are your thought on networking groups and are they worth it (if you have tried it?)
I did a speed networking event last year and while I didn't get any work, it was a good experience and I'd do it again. I have toyed with joining a networking group but can't convince myself to part with the money at the moment. The plus is, they only allow one 'industry' per group, which I think is great. The minus is, it's expensive to join and requires a degree of commitment (monthly meetings). Also, most others in the group aren't the go-to people for design. That said, it offers an opportunity to build relationships.

What do others think?
I was a member of BNI for some years (as the printer) and it does give you great experience in standing up and talking confidently about your business. As Ayka says the minuses are: cost, weekly commitment (BNI), most others in the group aren't the go-to people for design, certainly in my ex-group it consisted of small one-man businesses - but I did make friends and am still in contact with many of the group. BNI does tend to be a bit officious - you have to bring 'referrals' to the group - and is very (officially) regimented. I would see what the group consists of. Where you are based it might be that bigger companies join.

There also may be some free (to join) networking groups and it is worth going to some of these.They do say that consistency is key in networking.
Personally I'd check out free events and trade shows and get chatting to people who have stands in addition to those roaming the seminars. If there's any Q and A that you feel you could add something really valuable to then do it because it'll spark interest from other listeners to you. Much more cost effective.
well im based in liverpool and the BNI group is rather big from wot i have seen/heard consists of 67 members per week and there is 5 BNI branches in liverpool and all 5 of them connect with each other. my only downside is its 6.30am breakfast meetings in city and i live on outskirts of city. I have looked for free groups but i just cant find any :( found a few on the web but i dunno, it just reminds me of a regular forum with joe bloggs the solicitor talking waffle and jimbo the joiner talking fluff.

ill keep looking into it and thanks for ur own imput/experiences.
I have the same problem NUGFX, Milton Keynes seems to have a lot of Networking groups and I have heard both good progress made and no progress made from these events.
A friend did recommend BNI, but i'm yet to be convinced its worth the outlay.
I should say first off that I have no direct experience but there's something about BNI that doesn't sit right with me, and I think it's probably the strong whiff of the golf club. Furthermore, I don't really think I'd care to belong to an organisation that (by all accounts) charges me hundreds of pounds a year to get in, penalises me if I show up late or leave early, tells me off if I don't pull my weight helping out other members and guarantees me precisely nothing in return. The only upside I can see is the lack of golf.