Small Talk Leads To Big Business

Speaking to a group of people that you don’t know, have never met before, can be the most uncomfortable start to a networking event. How do you introduce yourself and start a conversation is much less daunting when you know that many people are shy and waiting for someone else to approach them!

My recommendation is that you prepare in advance so that you are comfortable with the small talk. It can be tempting to dive in and tell everyone about what it is you do and what business you want from them. Hold back, don’t be in a hurry to dive into your products and services just yet. We are starting with the deep and meaningful relationship building with small talk, getting to know each other and breaking the ice and get the conversation rolling.

So how do you do that? The first thing that I would encourage you to do is consider at least five conversation starters that you would be comfortable with. People like to talk about themselves, be open and genuine and start with ice breakers that means they can talk about themselves. Such as;

  • Have you come far?
  • How was the traffic?
  • How did you find out about this event?
  • Do you know many people here?
  • Was the event recommended to you?
  • Do you live locally?

Think about the questions that you have been asked before that opened up conversations and attracted you to the person who asked them.

Give something of yourself away “I’m looking forward to the weekend and some time chilling out with my family. I think I will be taking them to the new Disney movie. How do you relax”

Ask effective open questions;

How do you feel about [current topic]?
What is your view on …?
How do you manage to …?
Where did you …?

Then you glide into the business questions and build knowledge about your new contact:

What attracted you to the industry you are in?
What do you love most about your business?
What is the difference that makes the difference between you and others in your industry?
What advice would you give someone starting out in [their industry]?
What significant changes have you seen in your industry?
How do you describe your business to people who would love to refer you?
How do your prospects usually find you?
What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?

Keep your questions open i.e. not with a yes/no response.

NOTE: These questions are the tip of the ice-berg. Take time to write out your own, make the questions ones that you would be comfortable asking. And, so that you don’t appear to be someone reading off a questionnaire, memorise them and practice using them at every event you attend.