I've always hated going to professional events with the goal of making contacts, giving my pitch to seven new people, and collecting twelve new contacts that I can add to my mailing list. I've found that if you treat people like people, get to know them and let them get to know you your connections will be much more enduring and rewarding, both financially and personally.

This approach takes more time and requires an openness and willingness to actually listen to what the people you're talking with are saying, but in the end you'll find that getting to know people turns them into trusted colleagues, friends and people you can turn to when you need help not waling talking wallets. People like being treated as real human beings and so will you when they return the favor.

Of course you can go around giving your sales pitch to everyone you can corner trying  to get them to sign up for your mailing list, try your free sample, and sign on the dotted line. This does work, but without building a personal connection all it takes to loose your customer is a guy with a shiny object - lower price, smooth pitch, low-ball estimate, etc.

A social network for ideas and relationships
You'll find networking a lot easier if you take the work out of networking.
You make it a chore when your primary goal is making contacts. Make your goal expanding your thinking and getting new ideas for your business and maybe making some lifelong friends in the process.
Just this shift in emphasis can make a big difference. You'll be much more successful in networking if your motive is curiosity and getting to know a wide variety of people rather than hustling contacts or business.

AuthorDean Birinyi