1. Bring business cards
I bring at least a 1/2 inch of business cards to distribute and plan to collect just as many.
2. Collect business cards (try for 5)
I also have a few pens available in which I'll write a few keywords on the back of card to jog my memory when I'm back at the office. When I collect cards, I tend not to show the stack that I'm accumulating. Shake their hand, enjoy the conversation, collect the card, write a key word on the back, then shove it into your pocket. Don't let the individual see how many you're collecting. They may have the fear that you'll be spamming them later instead of trying to build a relationship.
3. Practice your pitch
After meeting people for the first time, the worst thing you want to do is tell your entire personal history from birth to present. Start slow and feel out the conversation. Begin with neutral subjects, find commonalities between you, and expand the conversation gradually.
4. Hold something in your hands
If you don't have something to occupy your hands you might be fidgety or over gesture during your conversation. Hold something like a glass, a piece of paper, a conference brochure, or even your cell phone (silence it or put it on vibrate) and use it as your buffer between you and the individual you're conversing with.
What techniques do you use when networking? I welcome your feedback