Sherlock Holmes, although a fictional character, had several traits that made him such an effective crime solver. As small business owners we could all take a tip from old Sherlock because, given those traits, he would have been a very effective small business networker today. He had extraordinary powers of observation, a ferocious curiosity, asked endless questions and listened to the answers. Let's apply that your networking experience.
Sherlock didn't spend time talking about himself and you shouldn't either. Being genuinely inquisitive and interested in what someone does and what they care about demands that you ask questions which in turn make them feel much better about your authenticity. Beware! If you're going to ask questions make sure you show them the courtesy of really listening to their answers. It is only through true listening that you can discern what makes them special, and, without that knowledge, how can you refer them or help them grow their business. Listening and learning are traits well worth cultivating.