Conversation Starters You Can Use to Nail Networking
One of the most common questions I get from clients is, "How do I break the ice without using a cliche statement about the weather?"
While small talk and ice breakers aren't easy, they can be made less painful if you consider this one fact:
There is something interesting in everyone.
When breaking the ice in any social situation, make it your mission to find out what is interesting about the person or people you are talking to. Instead of making some generic statement about the weather, try revealing something about yourself and encourage them to reveal something as well.
Start by making a good opening statement based on an observation you have made either about the party you are at, or the other person you are about to speak to.
"I can't take my eyes off your scarf. That color is beautiful... in fact, it's my favorite color! Where did you buy your scarf?"
"Huge turnout at the conference today. I came to here to talk on business development. What brings you here?"
"These appetizers are delicious. I love seafood, how about you?"
Notice in the above examples three parts of each ice breaker: The statement, the disclosure about yourself, the question to gather information about the other person.
Once you get the conversation going, it's important to keep it going by asking a lot of open-ended questions. Questions like:
What led you to the kind of work you do?
What's new in your industry?
What advice would you give someone just starting in your business?
Networking doesn't have to be scary. Simply go into each situation with a clear idea of what you want to accomplish - and what you want to add.
Source: Power Phrases by Meryl Runion