When you tackle an important challenge, you often create a plan. You set goals; create related strategies; identify the actions connected to those strategies; then implement your plan with ongoing evaluation. It sounds like adding complexity to the process but actually your networking becomes easier, much more productive, a rewarding experience, and often, enjoyable because of the game-like approach.
Think of networking as the peak of your personal branding activity. Networking focuses on who you know; your other personal branding activities, who knows you.