I hate "networking" events. I hate people who ask for something before they even know me and what I am working towards. This is not how life works. Life works when you plant a seed and wait without expectation for a tree to grow.
I love meeting people who share my passion for learning, for reading, for running, for playing and watching football, for watching rugby. I don't love meeting people who say "I can help you if you can help me"- that is just a transaction. I am not interested in a life of transactions. I want relationships.
There is nothing to be gained from "networking" in the short term. It is an investment.
I remember my EO friend Zahra said that when she goes to a networking event she has only one goal: find someone that she can help. That's her goal. Get to know what people are there for, what they are struggling with, what they need... and try to give them something useful.
Listening to Tim Ferriss' podcast today he said "I hate when someone asks how they can add more value to him"... because it is just fore-play for an upcoming big ask... and Tim probably won't want to say yes.
Make yourself a hero to a couple of people. If you do this, karma works.