Updated: May 7
Do you often find it difficult to start a conversation with strangers at networking events?
The typical scenario that you might be facing - You go to a very good networking event with the right set of people you have desired to meet. You exchange a few smiles and hellos and suddenly you are blank. You just stick around with 1-2 people you knew already, have coffee and food, and come back.
You struggle in breaking the ice with new people or starting conversations. You don't know what to say. At the same time, you know how crucial it is for you to meet & talk to at least 5 people in that meeting lest you should waste time and money and most importantly, the opportunity it brings.
95% of professionals consider face-to-face communication vital for long-term business.
I want to make it easier for you by saying that talking to strangers is not easy for anyone. And no one is born a conversationalist. It is a skill that one can develop over time.
Here are some tips for you to become a conversation starter at networking events and ace your networking game.
1. Introduce yourself
Introducing yourself is the most straightforward way of beginning a conversation. Just walk up to other people present in the event and say hello with a good handshake.
However, going prepared with a nice intro or pitch works brilliantly. Ideally, your pitch should be aligned with your professional goals. Who you are, what you do, and what your mission is.
2. Ask the Right Questions
Identifying a good question and being able to articulate it well is a key skill in becoming a successful networker. You can ask some common questions like;
I hope you are liking the event.
Or maybe, pass on the plate at the food counter and say, "Hi, you are?"
What's your hobby? or, simply talk about your hobby first.
Do you often go to networking events like these?
What do you do?
What company do you work for?
What do you think about work-life balance?
What advice do you have for someone new to your industry?
These are some common but great questions to break the ice and start a conversation just after you introduce yourself.
3. Give a sincere compliment
Everyone loves compliments. Giving a compliment to someone be it about their talents, or business accomplishments can be a great conversation starter.
You can also ask some questions about things that you are interested in and if you find a similarity, then it's great, compliment them and incorporate how much you have accomplished in the same niche.
For example, "oh you like cricket, that's great! I follow cricket championships like crazy."
I just loved your presentation.
Just observe people and shower compliments.
4. Ask for business opportunities
The close rate for face-to-face meetings is 40%, so why not leverage it?
You are working harder on honing your networking and communication skills. Why?
Because you want to unlock those hidden business opportunities there.
If you meet a company owner or a recruitment manager, you can absolutely ask whether they are looking for new talents at their company or if you meet an entrepreneur and you are also the one, you can ask for the collaboration.
You know what, many people do like people being upfront and bold. Yes, but do this act with care and discretion.
Also Read: Never say these 5 things while networking.
5. Plan to Reconnect
Networking events can be a start of a more extended business relationship that happens through conversations.
Once you make a mark on someone, leverage it. Connect with
So, ask your connectors about their schedules, and ask them whether they would be interested in reconnecting after some time. Mention why you want to reconnect with them, this will open a lot of doors of opportunities both for you and for your connectors.
Starting a conversation with someone new calls you to come out of your comfort zone. Beat every fear in your heart and go ahead. Maybe you would make a few mistakes but will master the craft along the way.
If could do it, so you can.
Do let me know how you found this article. In case you have any queries or you want me to talk about a specific subject, don't hesitate to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.