I go to networking events often. I had to learn to come out of my shell in order for it to be an impactful experience.
Yes, networking events can be overwhelming and/or intimidating but your there for a purpose.
Here are some tips I learned on networking my way to success:
1) Set a goal: Before attending the event, set a goal for yourself. For example, I'm going to give out 10 business cards, exchange numbers with 2 influential people, etc... This way you don't get overwhelmed.
2) Know your mission statement in one sentence: People are going to ask you what you do, so know what your talking about and try not to babble too much. Allow the other person to ask more questions.
3) Wear a talking piece: When going to events, wear something bold. This way people will give you a compliment and that will generate a conversation on its own.
4) Be Confident: In a room full of talented people, make sure you realize that your amazing too! There's more than enough room for everyone to shine!