Networking is one of the necessary, but challenging, aspects of work for many people. While it's easy to be relaxed and chatty with family, friends and colleagues, it's much harder to walk into a room full of strangers and make conversation. So how do you do it?
The best way to start a conversation while networking is simply saying: “Hello, I’m [name]. What’s your business (or what do you do)?
But there are other opening lines too, without feeling awkward or forced. Here are our tried and tested ways of starting a conversation while networking.
The headlines of the day
News is always a good excuse to chat to someone new, so pick a few of the top headlines from the day and ask: “I heard/read about [insert news item] on the way here today. What do you think about it?”
"Love your shoes!"
Who doesn’t love a compliment? It’s fairly easy to find something you like about another person, whether it’s their outfit, shoes, tie, handbag, or a book you see poking out of their briefcase … And this something is another great conversation starter.
"What do you think?"
Equally, people love being asked for their expert advice so take note of the organisations on everyone’s name tags and start a conversation with someone whose industry you can ask a question about easily.
This event is great!
A big event like a conference can be overwhelming, but an easy way to meet new people is to chat about the program, a speaker you like or the event facilities. An easy way to get this conversation started is to ask, “My head is overloaded with great information from today; what gem has resonated with you?”
Loner? No, just waiting to talk to you
If you see someone on their own, think of it as the perfect opportunity to say hello, ask them how they are and introduce yourself. It can be as easy as that.
If you see a group of people chatting, add to their conversation by mentioning an example to illustrate the speaker’s point, or throw in a comment about something relevant that you read earlier that day and then introduce yourself.
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A special gift
To help you get networking, as a special gift, readers of Motherpedia can download Catriona Pollard’s Personal Branding Secret Weapon: NETWORKING Resource Guide with bonus list of over 500 Networking Groups, for FREE!