11 Conversation Starters for Better Networking

by Jun 9, 2017networking, Sales

11 Conversation Starters for Better Networking

We’d all like to become natural conversationalists – to work a room, going from person to person and impressing them with our likability. Sadly, though, for some people, starting conversations with strangers can be frightening. When one has not learned to start a conversation smoothly, it can lead to awkward situations.

Conversation starters are even more important for business owners and sales professionals. As much as you have a great product, if you can’t sell it to someone else, you will fail at sales. You are the face of your brand, it’s important that you give a good impression.

Ever heard that it’s not about what you do but about who you know? This is somewhat true. The power of social proof can make or break your business. It’s important to connect with people so that you can guarantee your success.

Networking events provide the opportunity to connect with various likeminded people in the hopes of making more sales. It is at these events where you make connections that can hopefully lead to long-term benefits.

Many people say that you don’t have to be socially adept to succeed. In my experience, though, being social goes hand in hand with being likeable. People like other people they can relate to. Therefore, social skills are not just good but necessary for success.

If you haven’t been endowed with the skills to relate to other people, never fear – it’s a learned ability. Here are 11 conversation starters for better networking:

Breaking the ice

When it comes to starting conversations, the basics always work. Nobody will turn you down if you politely introduce yourself. In fact, people love attention and would be flattered that you approached them first. Here are simple icebreakers that you can use;

  1. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for (company). I see you look like an interesting person, so I wanted to introduce myself. How are you doing today?”
  2. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for [company]. What do you do?”
  3. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for [company]. Are you from around here?”
  4. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for [company]. How’s your day going?”
  5. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for [company]. What do you do?”

If you pay attention to each one of these conversation starters, they introduce you and your company and then ask a question. Asking a question is key to keeping the conversation going. Also, try to ask questions that don’t need a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

Making the connection

Human beings are wired to connect. This is according to scientist Matthew Lieberman. In his book called “Social”, he uncovers the neuroscience of human connections—and the broad implications for how we live our lives. He advises people to try to understand the feelings and thoughts of other people they interact with.

People give cues, either negative or positive. Here are positive cues that mean that you can continue the conversation:

  • The other person mimics your movements
  • They smile during your conversation
  • They nod their head often

Here are negative cues that mean you must either change the topic or find a way to excuse yourself:

  • Fidgeting
  • Checking the time
  • Looking around for something else

In addition, avoid negative cues by talking less about yourself. Remember that people LOVE talking about themselves and their passions, and as long as you’re asking the right questions, you will find that they easily open up to you.  If you can tap into what motivates the person, your likability will go through the roof! Also, it takes the pressure off you to keep the conversation going. Here are questions that can tap into passions and motivations:

  1. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for [Company]. What’s your story?”
  2. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for [Company]. What brought you here?”
  3. “Hi, my name is [Name] and I work for [Company]. Are you as passionate about business as I am?”

For introverts

Finally, conversations are especially difficult for introverts. They tend to feel overwhelmed by large crowds and struggle to connect with other people. If you’re an introvert, you must push yourself out of your comfort zone to become a successful networker.

The trick to succeeding as an introverted networker is to find people who are sitting or standing alone, and then approaching them with these type of conversation starters:

  1. “Man, these networking events can be busy. Do you mind if I join you? By the way, my name is [Name] and I work for [Company].”
  2. “Since we’re both here at the bar, I feel that I should introduce myself. I’m [Name] from [Company].”
  3. “I’m attempting to meet new people tonight; do you mind me chatting to you for a bit?”

Once you’ve spoken to a few “lonely” people, start introducing them to one another by saying, “[Person’s Name], I don’t know if you met [Other Person’s Name]. She’s/He’s the owner of [Company Name]”. This tactic will allow you to form a tribe of connections at the network event.

And that’s how to network like a pro! If you need more networking tips, contact us today. We are an inbound and outbound marketing agency that can help you with business coaching.