Knowing what to say – or how to break the ice – might just be the biggest obstacle for many when it comes to networking.
It may even keep someone from signing up for an event. Are we talking about you? Have no fear. We’ve got countless ways for you to get the conversation started here! We’ve even broken them down by topic. Choose one that you feel is a fit and go into your next networking event (Perhaps even with us at Pagoda Business Network) more confidently.
The Day. Think on your day, or aspects of the day everyone experiences and work it into your conversation starter. Here are a few ideas…
- How is your day going?
- How was your drive here?
- Enjoying the weather? Can you believe this weather?
- Mind if I sit with you?
The Event/Venue. You’re all enjoying the same event and location, why not talk about it? These might be good questions to lead with…
- What brought you here today?
- How did you hear about this event?
- Have you been here before?
- I’m a first-timer here. What can I expect?
- How many people do you think are here today?
- Can you believe we have to wear these nametags?
- This (dish) is delicious. Are you enjoying your meal?
Getting Down to Business. Perhaps you want to get right to discovering what your fellow networkers do professionally. These questions can get you started…
- So, what do you do?
- How do you like working for your company? Yourself (if they’re self-employed)?
- What is your primary role at your company?
- How did you come to do what you do?
- What do you enjoy most about what you do?
- Where did you go to school or get your training?
Current Events. People love to weigh in on the weather and such and asking about it can be a great way to kick things off if you keep it light. You might ask…
- Can you believe all the crazy headlines this week?
- Did you catch the game last night?
- Isn’t the weather beautiful today?
Getting Personal. Without getting too intimate, a harmless personal question or observation can be a great way to get to know someone better. Think…
- Excuse me, I’m curious (remember, don’t get too personal).
- That’s a great tie/necklace! Where did you get it?
- If there’s one thing you’re sick of being asked, what is it (so I don’t ask you)?
- What do you enjoy in your free time?
- Do you volunteer with any local organizations?
- Do you have any pets?
- Any vacation or any special plans coming up?
- Aren’t you friends with (insert name)?
Want to put one of these to use at our next networking event planned for May 23 at 11:30am at Berks Nature/The Nature Place? It’s easy to sign up right here.
Nikki Murry is editor of Berks County Living magazine and a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and blogger. In her free time she is an active dog rescue volunteer and enjoys spending time with her 15-year-old son, Riley, and her three dogs: Buddha and Shelly, French Bulldogs, and Bruno, a Boston Terrier.