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10 Professional Networking Conversation Ice Breakers.

Take Note of the Conversation Starters That Tick All The Boxes.

Research has shown how much swapping more functional conversations can help you much happier. But, using the appropriate ice breakers for professional context is vital.

1. What was/is your favourite part pf the event so far?

This is more tailored to large events like conferences. Its positive and invites a detailed but not excessively personal reply that feeds to further conversation.

2. Are your originally from (wherever the event is), or did your business bring you here?

Here’s a roundabout question of “What do you do?” (which apparently is rude in some countries). In a more engaging manner, this question can be followed up by sharing information about yourself leading to what kind of business you are in.

3. This is my first visit to (wherever the event is). What do you recommend I see while I’m here?

Away from home for an event? The above question would give you advice from those familiar with the place. This is a great way to get people thinking.

4. What do you love most about your line of work?

This is a question undercover recruiters may twist around to different versions. As the person opens to sharing his/her personal stories and beliefs, you get insider information on which field you work or intend to work.

5. How did you get into the industry?

People enjoy talking about themselves, and they enjoy reminiscing about what brought them to the work in the first place. Well this is the question for you?

6. Who are some of your favourite experts or authors?

People like to show they are in the know about cool influencers. You are also likely to get some great recommendations too.

7. I feel pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of the info that’s being fore-hosed at us today. Is there one nugget of brilliance that’s really resonating with you?

This is one of the alternatives to “What do you do?” Its confession to feeling overwhelmed which encourages similar authenticity. It helps you make a real connection. You could also get a bit of your new acquaintance’s wisdom.

8. What was the best piece of advice you got early on in your career?

An alternative to the one above..

9. What’s the absolute WORST business advice you’ve ever received? Did you sense the ridiculousness immediately, or did you have to learn by trial and error?

A slightly more daring suggestion.

10. I love your bag. Where did you get it?

This won’t lead to your new connection but it would work as an ice breaker to help them remember you. Research shows receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being reward money.

Any other great professional ice breakers you could add to the list?

By Naomi Nziza (July, 2017)