Read the event program beforehand and make a note of people you want to meet and think about how to go about doing so. If you’ve got your sights set on a CEO, see if you know anyone else at the company who could make an introduction, or plan to approach their assistant.
Perfect your elevator speech
Figure out what you want to say and how to say it in 30 seconds or less.
Mingle near the food
Most people hang out at the bar, but that’s actually the worst place to stand at an event. The bar is like a transaction—you go in, get a drink and get out—and you can’t linger because you’ll get in the way.
Approach speakers before their talk
After a speech, people swarm the stage and you’ll get lost in the shuffle, so you’ll be less likely to get meaningful time with the speaker. Catch them before their talk instead.
Remember: People love to talk about themselves
Ask questions and draw people out first, and they’ll be much more interested in the conversation and receptive to hearing you out.
Photograph by Craig McDean for Vogue.