On this one, the title of the post says it all. Networking should not be a pain in the ass. Look at networking as a game. The winner of the game is the person that makes the most friends.
It’s not about being the most popular, it’s about establishing relationships built on trust and confidence in your abilities and the abilities of your networking buddy.
I was once asked by a potential networking buddy how he could earn my business. I said it was simple. Be my friend.
We all like to do business with friends so why should real networking be any different? Learn to earn the trust of others by listening to their needs and doing your damnedest to help them succeed.
Remember, the initial overtures of networking are about GIVING, not receiving. Learn to give first, and success will follow.