How can I get more comfortable at networking?

Meredith Lavine, Artfulresumes.com:
Networking is an acquired skill, which is best improved by practice. Some options to consider are to join professional associations and organizations designed to strengthen soft skills. Consider joining Toastmasters to develop presentation skills. Some organizations, such as The Center for Women and Enterprise (www.cwe.org) in Boston offer networking and marketing workshops. Attending networking organizations can be less frightening when you are prepared. Come up with a brief and interesting “elevator pitch” when people ask who you are and what you do. For example: “Hello, I am Joan and I help children realize there is more fun to the internet than myspace and youtube.” Don’t eat anything messy or drink alcohol. Have a firm handshake, look people in the eye and work it. Take a set of business cards with you. If you are looking for employment, you might want to consider make your own personal business cards with your name, title (such as “Library Manager” or “Library Professional” and your contact information. Please make sure you have an email address on there. One device I personally like to use is to go to the event with a buddy for moral support and then split up to meet people.