When it comes to conversation, you’re a natural. You can chat up a storm with just about anyone, you’re a pro at listening, and you love meeting and connecting with new people.
But when it comes to starting that networking conversation? That’s a different story.
This is one of the most common concerns we hear about networking: How do you just walk up to someone you don’t know at an event—and start talking?
Well, it’s a tad easier than it sounds. Fact is, no one’s going to turn you away if you walk up, smile, and say, “I’m so-and-so. Nice to meet you.” In fact, others will probably be relieved that someone else started the conversation!
But, the process is definitely a lot easier when you have a few go-to icebreakers in your back pocket. So, we’ve put together a handy list to refer to before your next event—some of our own lines, a few favorites from our career expert friends, and icebreakers our Twitter and Facebook followers have used, too!
When in doubt, just try the basics: asking what someone does, inquiring why he or she is at the event, or even just reaching out your hand and saying hi.
What’s your favorite conversation starter at a networking event?” - Connie B.
“So, what do you do?” It gets them talking first and you can think about how to approach the conversation or how you could possibly work together. - @GrowSouthwest
“So, what brought you here today?” - @twofacedhrlady
“Hi there! I’m Michelle. What are you passionate about?” - Michelle E.
“What’s your story?” It always sparks a fascinating and non-generic conversation. - @leslieforman