Hate Networking? Here Are The Best Conversation Starters
Networking is arguably one of the most important ways to jumpstart your career. While starting conversations may be easy for some, it doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Although initiating these professional relationships may not always be the easy, it is essential to learn these networking basics. People naturally gravitate toward assisting others that they personally know. This will prove vital in finding, maintaining, and furthering your career.
So, where to begin?
Before you can get the conversation started, you need to take the first step in finding networking events. These meetups are prime locations for talking to people in your industry. Doing a little research can go a long way in expanding your professional network. There are websites to make this first step very easy. Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com are some of the best sites we’ve found. They’re extremely user-friendly and can help you find exactly where you need to be.
Now that you’ve found your networking event, take a little time for some preparation. Think about this: How would you describe yourself professionally in 30 seconds? This short summary of yourself, also known as an elevator pitch, can help to easily open up professional conversations.
The conversation has started…so now what?
Let’s look at some of the best ways to keep the discussion going.
One of our most favorite tips is this: Ask questions!
Asking questions allows you to easily flow into follow-up insights, comments, and more questions.
At your next event, try some of these questions and see how easy the conversation flows:
- What brings you to this particular conference/event?
- Have you attended this event before? If so, what is your favorite part?
- Do you know the speakers? Have you heard them speak before?
- Any speakers you recommend?
- What are you hoping to take away from this event?
- What company do you work for? What is your position there?
- How did you get started in your career? What do you enjoy most about it? Anything you don’t like?
- Are you from this area? (You can take this opportunity to ask for recommendations or provide recommendations for the area)
- Anyone you recommend I meet at this event? (If you are new to networking, don’t be afraid to tell them! Everyone must start somewhere)
The benefits of professional networking are countless. It’s time to start the conversation and see the benefits for yourself!