The next time you are networking try a different approach. Don’t lead with your ‘elevator speech’, instead get the conversation started about THEM. Ask them some seed questions to begin to understand more about them and if they are people of interest. And don’t fear ‘small talk’, just don’t do it.
A great starting question is “What brings you to this event?” Some others include:
What other events do you attend and why?
Are you a member here? For how long?
What value do you get in attending these types of events?
From there a natural conversation will ensue and you will begin the process of getting to know them better. And don’t be surprised when you get to learn more about their challenges.