INSTEAD OF GOING TO THE DENTIST
Going to a company sponsored event for networking is a bit like voluntarily going to the dentist to get teeth pulled. It's probably useful and will have a better outcome than not going, but it isn't what I'd do for pleasure. Instead I network in a way that it is good for my mind, body, and business.
When I visit J, 1000 miles from my house, I know no one. He lives on a street filled with McMansions, manicured lawns, and people walking their dogs. I tell J on a regular basis that I want to be friends with rich people. If you want to be a millionaire, your friends should be millionaires.
GO FOR A DAILY WALK.
Don't get hung up on the "daily." Just go for a walk, preferably at a similar time each time. You'll start to run in to the same people. The first day you may just smile at the other persons. The next day, you'll give a familiar nod and say, "hey, good seeing you. Have a great walk!" A few days later you may notice yourself looking forward to going for a walk because you may get to see those people. Eventually you'll find yourself walking at the same pace and having a conversation with these people.
Just seeing your face for a second time people will already know and trust you. After exchanging just a few words while exercising and producing endorphins, they'll like you.
BONUS POINTS: CARDIO
If you aren't building your business, it's getting stale. If you aren't building your body, it's degrading.