The first thing you need to know is how to plan. Don’t show up to a networking even ill-prepared. Have an idea of how you are going to introduce yourself and be armed with a politically correct joke to help fill up any awkward silences.
Go to the event with a time limit. If the event is an hour, plan on only staying twenty minutes. You can use the time limit as an excuse to merge slowly into networking events. For example, state “I have to leave in a few. I’m meeting a client, but it was nice meeting you and I will email you later.”
Finally, bring goodies. Nothing serves as a better ice-breaker if you show up with gifts. I use to buy a hundred dollars worth of Starbucks gift cards in five dollar increments. I would go up to someone I would like to meet, hand them the gift card and introduce myself. Trust me, you can not talk at all and still make a great impression with this trick. The downside is this tactic can get expensive.
Twyla N. Garrett