Some good opening lines at a networking function: What brought you here today? What were you hoping to get out of today’s meeting? So what are you working on? The last one really gets someone to open up about what is really going on with them which may or may not be work related.
Networking is about building relationships with people who may or may not need what you have. Networking could create a good connector for you or for someone else. Sometimes you could put two people together which could be more beneficial to you in the long run.
Have a plan but not an agenda. Plan on who you want to meet with at the event. Go to the event with the thought of getting to know someone.
Networking is like dating. You need to get to know someone and build a relationship before you start to work together.
Some good tips: Be respectful of people’s time; only give a business card when asked; show up to the event early and scan all of the name tags to see if there is anyone you want to meet with; offer something of value to the person you are meeting.