I found How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends on the clearance rack at the local bookstore, but you can get it from Amazon for about $12 new. I've been trying to grow my network skills and like many of you, I'm not always great about chatting with new people/strangers so thought I'd see if there were any ideas in here that would help.
I'll share two ideas I took away from reading it. The first was about remembering names, and the author puts forth that the reason many of us struggle with names is that while the other person is saying their name we're not listening. We're thinking about what to say next. He suggests listening intently (which is obviously the right thing to do) and then repeating the name back (easy to do) to help burn it into memory. The other was to have a list of hot button topics available,things that you're excited/passionate about and that would show if you discussed them - and to listen/watch for topic that are hot button items with others.
It also talks about details such as balancing the conversation and how to disengage. Good, easy to understand techniques, and I think fairly relevant for most of us. The only part I didn't care for was using mnemonics to help remember names, that seems like a lot of work at a time when you're just trying to capture name & face together, but maybe that's just me!
It's a small book, about 200 pages of easy to ready type, and a lot less fluff than How to Win Friends and Influence People.