1) Do your research- Understand who the target market of the event is. If possible, obtain a list of the attendees and research them on LinkedIn prior to the event, enable items for “small talk”
2) Find Common Ground- As you enter the networking event, approach someone who looks open to a conversation. Start with questions about them, their jobs, and interests.
3) Listen Actively- This is important. Do not just wait for your turn to speak. Ask relevant questions and listen intently to their responses.
4) Make a Polite Exit- When the time comes to exit the conversation, you could offer to get the person a drink. When you get back, they may be involved in another conversation, so you can give them their drink and leave.
5) Follow Up- Send them an email or add them on LinkedIn. Maybe they spoke about a hobby or issue at work and you see an article on that topic, so you could send them a link. This then gives you further credibility in their eyes.