Dave Delaney is a consultant, author, and speaker who specializes in digital marketing, social media strategy, and business networking.

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Dave co-founded two annual "unconferences," PodCamp and BarCamp Nashville, and launched two monthly networking events, Nashcocktail and Geek Breakfast. The latter now has chapters across the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Australia.

I invited Dave to Marketing Smarts to share networking tips from his book, New Business Networking, and to discuss the role social media should play in networking today.

Here are just a few highlights from my conversation with Dave about how to form real connections with people via social media sites such asTwitter and LinkedIn—or even through cold-calling!

After a move or a career hiatus, networking starts with research (04:30): "[Start with] researching the companies that you want to work for. The book originally was conceived for managers and business owners...but I know from my own experiences being between jobs, or doing career changes, or being a student and trying to jump-start my career: I wrote the book for all those different type of people. Research the companies that you want to work for...then take a look on LinkedIn and see who you may be connected with at those companies, and try to get an introduction through your own network. If you don't have that, at the very least you can still look and see who works at these companies...and start researching that way."

To build your network in a new city, host networking events (10:09): "By creating an event and doing it effectively, you become the connector. You get to know your attendees because you're the one person that's guaranteed to be there every month. That gives you the opportunity to introduce people all the time. So, if I know somebody who's out of work, looking for a marketing position, and I know somebody who runs a company that's seeking a marketing person, I can connect the two.... That's definitely one of the big benefits to running your own event."

If you're shy, push yourself to attend events, if only for 15 minutes (13:12): "If you're really shy about going to places...just go for 15 minutes. Spend 15 minutes, and if you absolutely hate it, leave, but at least getting yourself in the door at an event is really important. I always recommend people get to the event early, because that's when it's a little more casual, it's not as stressful. You can start meeting the earlybirds who arrive. You can also meet the sponsors, because they're there to talk to people they want to meet people. It's good to go and chit-chat with sponsors. In fact, that's how my book came to be. At a conference, I went over to my publisher's table, and started a conversation...next thing I knew... I had a book deal, just because I went and talked to them."

For more information, visit DaveADelaney.com or follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveDelaney.

Dave and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.