15 Networking Ice-BreakersPosted: 10th of April 2015 by
Networking is a part of modern-day business, but knowing what to say can be tricky – especially if you lean towards the shy side of things. Getting the conversation started can be the trickiest thing of all – you don’t want to say the wrong thing and end up making yourself look like an idiot. So here we present 15 ideas to help you get the ball rolling…
1. ‘Hello, my name is…”
Keep it simple with this straight opener. Speak with some confidence and be sure to have an idea where you want the conversation to go from there.
2. “Can I join you?”
If you are at an event there may be chairs and tables where people are sat as they take a break. You can use this as an excuse to get into the circle.
3. Have you tried the (add name of food or drink at event here)?”
People bond over food and drink, so use this to your advantage. Ideally, keep the drink non-alcoholic as it creates a better impression!
4. “How do you know each-other”
A quick rescue tip if you suddenly find yourself surrounded by people who all seem to know each-other already. Rather than feeling left out, deflect the conversation back to the group and let them introduce themselves.
5. “What do you do?”
Unless you already know the person, or if they are the person holding the meeting, for example, it is fine to ask someone what they do. Quickly try to find some common ground if you can and take it from there.
6. “I like your…”
Paying someone a sincere compliment can help break the ice – just make sure you don’t come across as creepy. The key is ‘sincere.’
7. “What did you think about the speaker / event?”
Use the surroundings to your advantage, ask what someone thinks of the event itself. Or alternatively, ask them what they thought of a talk – this tip can turn a non-networking event into an opportunity!
8. “What are you hoping to get out of today?”
It’s a pretty direct question, but sometimes a direct approach can work. While breaking the ice, it can also help you work out if your ‘target’ has similar goals to yourself.
9. “Where do you come from?”
Simple and classic – if someone has an unusual accent for example, you might be able to ask them a little bit about where they’re from.
10. “”I love your work”
If you know the person you are about to talk to, it never hurts to pay them an honest compliment, but make sure you can back it up with an example!
11. “What are you planning to do this weekend”
Note – you are not trying to chat the person up, so use this one wisely or face them getting the wrong end of the stick. However, taking someone out of just talking about the work environment for a moment may help them relax.
12. “Do you know if the wi-fi works?”
Asking a tech-related question can be a good introduction, even if you know the answrr. Alternatively, you can ask if someone is having trouble with the wi-fi connection and offer to help. Whichever way you play it, you can use this type of common experience to get networking.
13. “Don’t you think it’s really loud in here”
It doesn’t have to be noise, you could mention how hot or cold it is, or some other common environmental factor. You are all at the event together – so may well be experiencing similar things.
14. “I really need to get away from my colleagues for a minute”
If used with a bit of humour, you may be able to switch this type of off-hand comment into a longer discussion. Of course, it doesn’t even have to be true – just so long as you can get the conversation started!
15. “I hate networking”
Quite a lot of people hate the falseness of networking events, it can feel awkward and unnatural, so use this to your advantage too! If you spot someone who looks like they are on their own and not really getting involved much, then this can be a great opener.
Whatever opening line you use, be confident, friendly, and polite. Most people are happy to talk with others, and if the person you approach is rude, then you have lost nothing. It’s their problem, right?
You might also like:
5 Tips For Better Networking
Take Your C.V. Online
7 Top Tips to Maintain Your Confidence
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