Just do it! First step: Say "yes" to invitations to events, meetings, tweetups, community days from your service organization, church or temple. Why? Well, why not? Doing something that is good and benefits others, makes you feel good. And that can't be bad. Way too many so -called experts complicate this whole process we have dubbed networking.
Second step: Prepare for whatever you agreed to do. Read the paper, the website, and blogs on the event, subject, history. All the conversation you can have is in the paper: Weather,Sports, News, comics, Current events and comics. Jot down 3-5 talking points/stories.
Third step: into the ROOM. 99% of the people in that room are as uncomfortable as you might be.
Approach people, make small talk, seque to "large" talk.
Don't forget to followup with those you have met! Or all will be lost.