We’ve all seen it: the person who’s talking at you while scanning the room looking for someone more important. But who’s “more important” anyway?

The intern in the cubicle might be president someday. Or work at your dream-job company. Or have a tie to your best prospect.

Or maybe they just have an interesting story to tell.

You want a network that’s both deep and wide.

The problem with instant gratification is that while you’re thinking “she’s just a consultant,” “he’s job hunting,” or “she’s really young,” the savvy business person is listening, being helpful, and connecting with people one by one.

Photo by Woodley Wonderworks (Flickr).