My definition of networking is: “leveraging trust and influence.” It takes a long time to make an old friend! Trust and influence are cultivated over time and are based on experience with the friend’s past performance. Sometimes difficult challenges help you find out who your real friends are!
If all we did at a live “speed networking” event were to collect business cards, we might be better off with the Yellow Pages directory. It would save us time and money, and it would have an organized index! Have you ever looked at your stack of business cards and wondered who were those people? Do you realize that they’re wondering the same thing about your business card?