Making small talk at networking events doesn’t have to suck.
Networking events are a great opportunity to meet new people and promote your business. Unfortunately, they can also be a little bit awkward. Small talk is often the key to breaking the ice, but it’s not always easy to think of things to say that are both interesting and relevant.
Here are a few questions you can ask the next time you’re feeling tongue-tied at a networking event:
-What brought you to the event?
-Have you been to any events like this before?
-What do you do for work?
-What industry are you in?
-Do you have any business goals or projects you’re working on that you’re excited about?
-Is there anything I can do to help you with your business?
-Who is your ideal customer or client?
-What do you love about your work?
-What’s been the biggest challenge in your business so far?
-What has been your most successful marketing strategy you have employed this year?
-Who are some of your mentors or role models in business?
-What blog posts, books, or articles have you read recently that were really helpful or inspiring to you in your work?
– What conferences or workshops have you attended that were really valuable?
Here are some of my favourites
-What problem are you solving with your business?
This is a great question to get to the heart of what someone does and why they do it. People love talking about themselves and their businesses, so this is a surefire way to get the conversation flowing. Not to mention, you might actually learn something! -How did you get into this line of work? We all have a story about how we ended up where we are today, and most of us love telling it. Asking someone about their journey is a great way to get to know them on a personal level and maybe even identify some common ground. Plus, it shows that you’re truly interested in who they are as a person and not just what they do.
-What’s been your proudest moment as a business owner?
Everyone loves talking about their accomplishments, so this is an easy way to stroke someone’s ego (in a good way). It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about what they value and what drives them to do what they do.
-What’s been your biggest challenge as a business owner?
We all have struggles, and being able to openly discuss them can be very cathartic. This question can also help generate some great ideas for collaboration or ways that you might be able to help each other out. Nobody ever said business was easy, so why not commiserate (and maybe even find some solutions) together?
Asking questions like these means you are tapping into what is important and interesting to the people you are talking to which means you well on your way to making small talk that doesn’t suck at your next networking event.
Do not ask about personal topics such as family, health, religion, politics, etc. unless the person brings them up first.
Once you get to know someone better, these topics may come up naturally in conversation. However, avoid them at first so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable. If you’re not sure what to say next, simply ask the other person another question. Most people love talking about themselves and will be more than happy to keep the conversation going.
Remember to exchange business cards! This is an important part of networking. Make sure to write down a few notes on the back of each card so you can remember who everyone is and what you talked about later on. Last but not least, follow up! Send an email or LinkedIn message to the people you met within a day or two of the event. Mention something specific that you talked about so they remember who you are.
Ask if there’s anything else you can do for them or if they’d like to meet up for coffee sometime. If they say no, no worries–you never know when someone might need your product or service down the road.
But if they say yes, then congrats–you’ve just made a valuable connection!
Networking events don’t have to be awkward–with a little preparation, they can be fun and even enjoyable! By asking interesting questions and being genuinely interested in the answers you’ll be well on your way to make some valuable connections. Small talk is fine if you’re killing time, but if you want to make a meaningful connection, you need to ask better questions. The next time you’re at a networking event, try asking one of these questions to get the conversation flowing. You might just walk away with a new friend…or client! Looking for some networking events to practice your skills? Come along to one of ours