Refuse to apologize or complain about things you have no control over, like weather; or things that you could reasonably plan for like traffic and directions.
Many people receive respect through time. If you make it clear at the first meeting that you are willing to use things that are known and predictable to give yourself an excuse, they are learning what it would be like if they chose to work with you, or refer you to a client.
Do you feel comfortable when you arrive to a networking event when it is half way through? I did not think so.
Wendy Kinney suggests you arrive 30 minutes early (in her book Networking Aerobics).
When the next person shows up, they have to talk to you because you are the only person there. And when the third person arrives, it is natural for you to say ‘Come join us’. Make sure that you are standing facing the door because you want to see that third person walk in.
When you see the fourth person come in, you leave the second and the third person talking and go greet that fourth person. When the fifth person arrives, you will motion to him to come join you and the fourth person.
You will leave the fifth and the fourth person to go greet the sixth person. If the seventh person comes in asking for the first person, you can walk them to the first person because you know them. Now if the eighth person comes in asking for you, any of the first seven people can introduce you, because they all know you.
This great experience happens due to you being 30 minutes early. If you are the third one to walk in, the first two people will not even notice you because they will be busy talking to one another.