Before you go out there and start networking, prepare and have a plan. It’s all about building powerful relationships.
Arm yourself with these helpful conversation starters to jumpstart that new relationship.
- So what do you do? That’s an open-ended question, instead ask: What’s occupying your time right now?
Get them talking about themselves and their interests. This will help you gain insights into who they are personally. Then drive the conversation towards topics you’re both interested in.
Actively listen. Reinforce things they say by paraphrasing wording to show that you are fully engaged in the conversation.
2. Instead of: Tell me about yourself. Ask: What do you love do the most? What moves you?
Gain insights into what they enjoy most out of life and what they love doing. Again, actively listen and find shared interests. All relationships are based on trust. Shared interests help establish that trust.
3. Instead of: Have you been here before? Ask about something specific, like the food or the decor.
Get personal. Listen, then find something that they say that you agree with and run with it. Inject some humor whenever possible. Take the edge off, and have some fun. Once you establish a good report, subtly direct the conversation towards items that will help you achieve your goals for this event.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Prepare in advance by doing some homework on what the venue is for.
- If there is a guest speaker, have some smart questions to ask prepared for this event.
- Know who is going to attend the event. And be prepared to have a few cool conversation starters that will help kickstart the crowd’s interests.
- Dress for success. If it’s casual, dress appropriately but err on the side of being somewhat formal. Maybe wear shoes instead of sneakers or a button down shirt instead of a polo shirt.
During the event, remember . . .
- Stay upbeat and never talk about politics or religion. If you stumble into a crowd that is going down that road, quietly move on.
- Be authentic and honest. Nothing turns the conversation cold like being caught in a lie or being disingenuous. If you don’t necessarily agree with something being said, don’t weigh in on that.
- Listen and carefully engage in the conversation by talking about things you have in common. Authentic relationships lead to better relationships, more opportunities, and greater success.
By being prepared with smart conversation starters will help you to wow your prospects and build better relationships.
Now go out there and work the room!