So, what game are you playing?
If networking isn’t just about collecting cards, what is it? To me, it’s the start of relationship building, it isn’t selling, it is partly marketing and it is based on excellent listening skills.
My experience with people I’ve met in business, not just as training participants, leads me to think that this is part of the problem – people don’t listen well.
Play the listening game, not the card game. How do you know when you are really listening? More importantly, how can others tell? If you don’t get a chance to tell the other person about yourself, that’s fine for the first meeting. I’m not quite sure how you can conclude in a first meeting that there is no way you could help each other, or pass on referrals or contacts, even if you’ve decided you don’t like them, so make sure you get their card and call them for a follow-up.