Networking events can be quite daunting, especially if you’re an introvert! However, even the most seasoned of network attendees can sometimes struggle to find interesting ways to start conversations, especially if you want to come across as approachable and interesting. So, here are some great conversation starters you can use to make it less overwhelming and more interesting!
Make it about them
One of the number one great conversation tips for anyone attending a networking event is this – don’t make it about you. This opens the arena for some meaningful conversation about the other person, with some great conversation starters, such as:
- What’s your story?
- How does it feel, to be a [whatever career they’re in]?
- What are you looking to get out of today?
- Tell me about your business
- How’s your day going?
Build on your similarities
We can often find things in common with others in the room, just by taking the time to ask questions and get vulnerable. Here are some conversation starters to help make that easier:
- Hi, I don’t know too many people here, so I wanted to introduce myself. I’m xx and I xxx.
- How did you hear about this event or have you been before?
- This venue is beautiful/unusual/cold/hot – have you been here before?
If the event includes food, use that as a conversation starter:
- These sandwiches are really delicious, have you tried them yet?
Hand out compliments
One thing to instantly put someone at ease is to pay them a compliment. Paying someone a compliment about what they’re wearing may be an oldie, but it certainly is a great way to start the conversation:
- What a beautiful brooch/bag/shoes, where did you get that?
- That colour really does suit you – do you use it in your business branding too?
- You seem at ease here; do you know many of the attendees?
You’re not alone – so look to connect!
It’s easy to get focused on how you’re feeling like the newbie or odd one out. However, if you take a look around the room, you’re likely to find someone else who feels equally (if not more) lost. Why not look to help them out too?
- These events can be quite overwhelming, do you mind if I join you, as it’s quieter over here?
- I’m trying to mingle with people I haven’t yet spoken to, do you mind if I introduce myself?
- Do I detect another person who feels as overwhelmed/lost as I do?
- Is it your first time at this event? Would you like me to introduce you to a few people?
- As we’re both stood over here by the doorway/bar/food, I feel it’s only polite to introduce myself…
Connect in with the latest news
Finally, if you’re struggling to remember any good conversation starters, resort to what you do know/remember – the latest news:
- It’s certainly been an eventful week, hasn’t it? What do you think about…?
- Have you heard the latest about [current news event]?
- Do you follow [football/tennis/rugby etc.]? What did you think of the latest match?
Finally, if you want to get in on a great group conversation, don’t be afraid to walk over, wait for a pause and then say – It looks like you guys are having an interesting/fun time, do you mind if I join you?
Starting a conversation may be daunting howeverm if you go forearmed with a couple of conversation starters, you can make it a lot easier and less stressful for yourself and those you interact with.