Yesterday I was speaking with some people who fear networking. As we talked, it became clear that their fear stemmed from a belief that they had to be able to carry a conversation. I explained to them that effective networking is about getting the other person to open up and tell you about themselves and their business. To be good at networking, you have to be able to ask open-ended questions. Questions that will prompt the other person to tell you about their business.
When you do this you are building rapport and therefore relationships. If you are doing all the talking, you aren't learning anything. And you certainly aren't connecting.
By the end of the conversation, they had a plan of attack for the next event they attend. I can't wait to hear how it goes!