From Bayesian Behavior Lab
Networking is one of the most important aspects of successfully doing science. Here are concrete steps:
(1) When you do anything, ask yourself if there could be a collaborator that brings in useful skills and improves the project. Contact them. Most will say yes because they like us or the topic.
(2) The people you know is of crucial importance to your career. Make networking a priority. Yes, it is more important to personally get to know someone good in your field than to see the talk.
(3) Be prepared. When going to a conference, make a list of the top 10 people you would like to meet. Email them before the conference to try to set up a meeting. Go see their posters. Meet them at talks.
(4) Be bold. Feel free to ask the interesting people to have lunch/dinner/breakfast/Karaoke. Yes it is fine to sit at the table of the big shots.
(5) Socialize within the group. In Chicago.