Networking is an often tedious part of career-building. There's one thing everyone has in common, though: a need to eat. To get better at networking, focus on the food.
Photo by Matt
Harvard University's "Social Capital Building Toolkit" (which is a researcher-y way of saying "networking") offers a number of tips for improving your networking skills. One of the key ones is to look for opportunities that involve food: hosting dinners or events where food is provided, going out to meals with potential contacts, and even offering food as a gift (where gifts are appropriate) are great ways to appeal to a universal need and establish a rapport.
Social context is always important (for example, a one-on-one dinner invitation can potentially be misconstrued in certain situations), but because everyone needs to eat, you always know something you both have in common. It's an event everyone can gather around, which makes it perfect for making new connections.