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What indicates someone is available for you to go up and speak to them at a networking event?
If they do not seem preoccupied or deep in conversation, if they are milling about and appear open and receptive to chat.
If they are huddled closely next to another person, talking intimately.
If they are having a group discussion.
Why should you not have your hands full of food and drink at a networking event?
There is no reason. They have provided refreshments, so pile your plate as high as possible.
You want to be able to shake hands, give people your business card and focus on meeting people instead of the free food.
You don’t want to look like you are only there for the free refreshments.
What is the best way to meet people at a networking event?
Go up and talk to people who look open to conversation and make small talk about the event or introduce yourself.
Stand alone in the corner of the room hoping nobody notices you.