5 Networking Conversation Starters

Feb 09, 2024
People at a casual networking event representing the need to start a conversation.

Networking can be a mixed bag. Some thrive on it, while others approach it cautiously. But one thing is certain: it's a vital tool for career and business growth. So, how do we make it more enjoyable and effective?

Let's rewind to Chicago, 2006. Nelson Heller, an introverted networking guru, shared invaluable advice with me and others in the room. His focus? Making connections comfortable. Here's what stuck with me:

  1. He bravely modeled a 30-second introduction, admitting his introverted struggle. The room collectively exhaled.
  2. His genius suggestion? Instead of the usual small talk, ask about exciting projects. Refreshing, right?

So, inspired by Nelson, here are five conversation starters you might try at your next networking event:

  1. "What pivotal moments or realizations in your career have steered you towards where you are now?"
  2. "What fresh skills or areas of expertise have caught your interest and fueled your passion?"
  3. "With the long haul of big projects in mind, how do you keep yourself motivated and energized along the way?"
  4. "When you think about where your industry is headed, what possibilities excite you the most? And how do you envision your organization playing a part in shaping that future?"
  5. "If you could meet anyone at this event, who would it be, and what would you want to talk about?”

Let's make networking less daunting and more fruitful, one conversation at a time.

Shared by: Kelly Stewart, a certified Conversations Worth Having and Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and Strategic Conversation Facilitator who will talk to everyone she meets.

Photo by HIVAN ARVIZU @soyhivan on Unsplash


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