Tim Klabunde, director of marketing at William H. Gordon Associates (whga.com) a Washington, D.C. engineering firm, writes in his SMPS Marketer Article:
Ask Yourself, "How Can I help This Person?"
The next time you head out to network, remember what you are really there to do. It is time to rethink how you perceive networking. No more collecting business cards, giving a sales pitch on your company, or thinking about who in the room can get you the next job. Instead, start by focusing on building meaningful relationships with others. When you walk up to someone, think to yourself, "How can I help this person?" When you learn how to focus on helping others first, the real networking begins.
Klabunde notes in his article:
Some of my most successful days networking I spend sitting at my desk. I don't attend a single association event, no lunches, and definitely not any speed-networking events. To succeed at networking, I work my computer and make phone calls with the sole purpose of helping other people. I make introductions, forward project leads, pass along information from a local paper, and laugh with friends about my two sons' most recent escapades.
Networking is not about the 'immediate', nor is it about 'take'. Effectively done, it is a long-term proposition. Note you don't need to spend long hours on the process and you can link your work on one thing to another.