So which one are you at a networking event? What's in it for me - WIIFM Type or what's in it for you - WIIFY Type?
I have seen it a 100 times. People come to networking events with one mission. Meet as many people as possible or maybe a few. Exchange business cards with one thing on their mind - WIIFM. Although the approach works short term, but does not add value to the other party involved. Plus this approach does not create the 'word of mouth' one is looking for - which by the way is the true essence of networking.
On the contrary, some of the best networkers I have seen flip the question. They are genuinely interested in helping the other person, and in the process they are able to expand their circle of influence. This approach just multiplies everything. When you are genuinely interested in helping others - you get help from all directions.
So if you WIIFY - keep doing it. If you don't - give it a try. In the next networking event, park your personal needs for a moment, and start the conversation with a new person by asking them:
'How can I help you?'
Give it a try, and experience the magic of true networking...