Get the conversation started!
As the famous Woody Allen quote goes, “showing up is 80% of life.” For networking, just showing up is the easy part. To make the trip worthwhile, you also have to start making conversation with people you’ve never met before. For some, the initial contact is the toughest part. Once you’re in a conversation, you’re golden. But how do you get one started?
It can be helpful to come prepared with an arsenal of conversation starters to break the ice and start connecting. Of course a simple “Hi! How are you?” works but coming prepared with a variety of ways to get the conversation going can make your life just a little bit easier. Here are some of my go-to’s:
- “How’s your day going?”
- “What brings you to this event?”
- “How did you hear about this event?”
- “This is a great spot! Have you been here before?”
- “I love your blazer, where’d you get it?”
- “The speaker had a ton of information! What was the best nugget you got from it?”
- “I’m a little overwhelmed by all these people. Do you mind if I come join you here where it’s a bit more quiet?”
- “I’m impressed by the food. What have you tried that you can recommend?”
- “What’s your story?”
- “Wow, you have a great name. Where does it come from?”
Getting a conversation going isn’t rocket science so don’t convince yourself that it’s complicated. The trick is to start with a genuine smile and to ask open ended questions. Reduce the chance for one word answers and you’ll have something to build off of right away.
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter what you start with because most people will be thrilled that you took the initiative to get the ball rolling.
Let’s keep the conversation going, let us know your favorite convo-starters in the comments below or by tweeting them to @pursuitseattle.