This article by Stacey L. Bradford illustrates 10 steps for better networking:
1. Prepare an "elevator speech." Write a summary of what
you want people to know about you that can be delivered in less than 30 seconds. Make it upbeat and succinct: who you are, what you do, what you're looking for. More than that, and you risk turning off the listener, says Debra Condren, a career coach and business psychologist with offices in New York and San Francisco. Since you get only one chance to make a first impression, she recommends practicing your elevator speech in front of a mirror, and then on friends, before taking it to a networking event.
I know we become writers so we can hide a little from people, but we do need to get past it. We are selling ourselves and our product. As I have said before, I lived in a small town with only one big PR firm. She was awful -- misspelled press releases, unprofessional reports/promotional materials but she was at every Chamber of Commerce mixer and event in the city. She knew her forte wasn't actually the PR itself but promoting herself.
So, why let people with less talent take all the work? Get out there!