When I am stuck on some problem in my research, I often feel the urge to hide in my office, not willing to be interrupted, nor even to have a coffee break with my friends. Ironically, in such a situation it is better to do the opposite - go and talk to other people, tell them what's on your mind. When I get myself to do it, even if the other person does not suggest any smart solution, I gain a different angle of view by trying to explain the matter to someone. Surprisingly, sometimes all it takes is to tell someone what's a problem, and you find a solution before you hear the reply!
Networking is a key to success for any specialist, especially for a scientist. I would like to encourage students: don't be shy. Try to use every single opportunity to meet new people, establish new connections, discuss your research with the specialists in the field. Use the CLEO conference to your advantage: talk to the speaker if the talk was especially interesting and important for your work, meet new people during coffee breaks. Do not hesitate to approach a person and to introduce yourself, even if he or she is a well-known scientist. Do not feel like you are a small bug on this huge conference. Everybody is valuable, every single person matters, and the progress of the entire field consists of the contributions from individuals. We all work together to move Optics forward.