I picked up Tony Hsieh's book (CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.) Delivering Happiness - A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose and thought I would pass on my thoughts. If you are a business owner, sales person or a want to be a happier person, I think you will get something out of his book.
This is the Zappos autograph wall. Fitting with the Zappos culture you can see that never eat alone is crooked.
In chapter three, Tony provides an excerpt from Ivana Trump's book and he shares his thoughts on networking. He says, "I personally really dislike "business networking" events. At almost every one of these events, it seems like the goal is to walk around and find people to trade business cards with, with the hope of meeting someone who can help you out in business and in exchange you can help that person out somehow." It is usually all about instant gratification. For me, this increases the stress level and reduces the fun level for me to the point that I don't even want to go.
Tony, instead, focuses on building relationships with people, "regardless of their position in the business world or even if they're not from the business world". Think about it. He is a CEO of a huge company interested more in the person than the position. He did say that his style and interest in people usually ends up working...in a business sense. He says that it usually takes 2-3 years from the time that he starts really trying to get to know someone. At that point in time, and you never can predict how, something good happens that ends up helping you and your business.
Try to really get to know people for who they are at your next networking function. You never know where it will lead.