Getting a conversation started is typically the hardest part of networking events! You must keep in mind that the prospect of approaching someone new is stressful for just about everyone involved. Read our tips below to develop smooth, natural conversation at your next networking event.
Go Fishing At the Food Table
When standing in line for food, strike up a conversation with those around you. Don't just stand in silence. This is a great opportunity to get conversations started because you already have developed common ground- the food in front of you!
Find a Loner
If you see someone standing alone, chances are they are feeling uncomfortable or perhaps intimidated. Don’t be afraid to go up to them and initiate conversation. Doing so will most likely make him or her feel more relaxed and willing to converse!Give Compliments
Compliments are a sure way to win someone over especially when they are feeling insecure or uncomfortable. When you’re struggling to find a conversation starter, giving out compliments is a simple way to break the ice. Just make sure your compliments are sincere!
If you’re a sports fan, use that to your advantage! Sports are a topic people love to talk about. If you hear a group talking about a sport or event you’re familiar with, go ahead and chime in!
A Simple Hello
Sometimes, simple is the best way to go. A confident smile partnered with a handshake and “Hi, I’m Bill” can work wonders!
Keep the Conversation Alive
After you’ve broken the ice, it’s imperative to keep the conversation going. The easiest way is to find common ground and what could be better than talking about the event itself! Another way to keep the conversation alive is to get them talking about themselves. Most people like to talk about themselves, so a simple, “What drew you to that line of work?” or “What do you like best about your job?” should do the trick.
Finally, Moving On
When you’re ready to move on and the conversation has started to wind down, let it happen. Don’t feel like you have to force the conversation to continue. Remember, you’re at this event to meet new people and create new connections. This isn’t going to happen if you stick to the same person all evening.