At Sirdab Lab we host a lot of community events, and there's usually an opportunity for people to chat and "network". I've met with a lot of people who are excited about the work we're doing but they've never been to any of our events.
Because they assume they have to be somewhat successful to start networking.
They need to be impressive.
They need to have something to offer.
They need to be "ready".
The truth is: networking isn't done when you're successful. Networking will help you succeed.
You open yourself up for opportunities, knowledge, inspiration, and (hopefully) enjoyment.
Don't try to impress others.
Don't feel obligated to look and sound perfect.
Don't show up with answers, come with questions.
You may find a potential collaborator, learn about a tool that makes your life easier, offer a piece of advice that changes another person's approach to business (or life).
We often try to design our events and workshops around specific outcomes (help participants overcome fear of failure, improve their communication skills when presenting, etc), but when you bring people together, it's hard to plan for or anticipate what can happen.
We are often pleasantly surprised by the results we see happen without our direct involvement. And that's a very promising phenomena: it means that the community can help itself flourish.
As long as people connect. So don't deprive others of your presence. Who knows what might happen.