5 conversation starters to take the pain out of networking

5 conversation starters to take the pain out of networking

One of the big buzzwords in job seeking these days has to be ‘networking’. Whether you’re a rookie or a regular at networking functions, striking up a conversation with new people can be nerve-wracking. But with the right opening line, it doesn’t need to be scary or stressful.

They may seem obvious, but with these five opening lines on hand, it will help you walk up to a stranger and start talking.

Networking icebreakers:

  1. I don't know many people here, so I thought I'd introduce myself.
  2. What do you do?
  3. What brought you here today?
  4. How did you hear about this event?
  5. I'm not good at networking but thought I'd push my comfort zone and introduce myself.

How to continue the conversation:

Once the ice is broken, keep the conversation going by asking and listening. It’s always easy to ask people questions about themselves, like what they are working on or their opinion on anything from the food to the speakers at an event. 

If all else fails, make sure you’ve got a few current news topics to discuss, avoiding the obvious pitfalls of politics, religion and similar potentially controversial areas.

How to wrap up the conversation:

Be wary and don’t get clingy. If you don’t enjoy networking, the temptation to cling on to a new-found contact like a life preserver will be high. But you came there to network so one down, many more to go. After five or ten minutes, thank them for their time, ask if you can exchange business cards or get LinkedIn, then head back out there.

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