Networking events are a great opportunity to make valuable contacts, professionally and personally. But many people stress over the pressure of trying to connect quickly and impressively with complete strangers. Some even stay away because they can't get comfortable with the idea. It's definitely a situation that can prey on any insecurities you have, but if you prepare well, you can know that you won't be caught in a long weird silence or trying to think of something to say that doesn't sound awkward. Then you'll be ready not just for networking events but for company picnics, conferences, cocktail parties, and any other social events that take you outside your circle of family and friends. Here are eight perfect icebreakers to learn and practice.
1. Hi, my name is . . .Start with the basics. Put out your hand, flash a genuine smile, make eye contact, and introduce yourself. From there the person you're talking with will almost certainly share their name, and you're already off to a good start.
2. What do you do?People love to talk about themselves. If you're inquisitive and curious, most people will pick it up from there and carry the talking. Again, it's a question of starting with the basics.
3. What business are you in?A slightly different version of "What do you do?" Either can be appropriate, depending on the event and the person. You may even want to use both. If you learn that you're talking with an accountant, you can ask, "Are you with an accounting firm, or do you work for a business in a different industry?" Source: Perfect Icebreakers: 8 Smart Phrases That Will Make You Better at Networking | Inc.com read more
Pin a name tag to your chest, grab a drink and schmooze. It may be a tried and tested formula for business networking events, but making important new connections needn’t be limited to the four walls of a bar or hotel function room. Here are five imaginative ways to network outside the box:
SaunasWhile most professionals dress to impress when meeting potential new business contacts, the Finnish attitude is definitely that less is more.
Planes, trains and automobilesWhile most people travelling on public transport do their best to avoid eye contact and engage with other passengers, striking up a conversation with a stranger on a train, plane or bus could result in useful business leads.
Burning Man festivalA week camping in the scorching desert sounds like a gruelling way to grow your professional network but Nevada’s annual Burning Man festival has become a magnet for business moguls and entrepreneurs alike.
‘Sweatworking’Can you network over weights and yoga as easily as you can sipping a glass of wine and nibbling on canapes? Advocates of the latest trend from the US which combines a workout with the opportunity to make business connections believe you can. This is just a synopses of the full article which you can read here. read more
It is crucial that you start your day off right. Here are some ways to make sure you begin your workday with the best mindset possible and boost your productivity. The first hour of the workday is critical, since it can impact your productivity level and mindset for the rest of the day. "Successful people understand the importance of having control over their mornings, and know how to use that time wisely," says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job. "These people are able to weed out the noise in their first hour and focus on what matters." Everyone has their unique method of prioritizing, she says. "But all successful people stay focused when they start their day, and with years of practice, they realize that many things can wait, and others cannot." Here are 12 things successful people do in the first hour of the workday: They step back and reflect. Taylor says it's important to take a moment to look at the big picture. "It's easy to jump in and 'just do it' when you get to work, but successful people look at their larger goals in order to better prioritize." They strategize. Successful people take a few minutes at the start of their workday to think about where their career or business should be going, says Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. "Few people spend much time on these questions to begin with, let alone when their brains are fresh. But pursuing strategic clarity is a worthy objective. It's hard to get somewhere if you don't know where you're going." They check their to-do lists and calendars. You don't want to overwhelm yourself first thing in the morning, but it's important that you take a quick look at your to-do list and calendar to know what's ahead. Missing any early meetings or deadlines would likely cause stress and could ruin your entire day. Read More: 12 Things Successful People Do in the First Hour of the Workdayread more
Idea 1. Gain Clarity - 80% of success comes down to clarity, clarity is being crystal clear on where you are going in business, creating a clear invincible vision. Idea 2. Environment - Jim Rohn said "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with" . Ask yourself this question: "Am I surrounded by like minded people who are going places"? Idea 3. Mastermind - “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” - Grouche Marx. Get into a mastermind group of like minded high achievers who are interested in achieving. Their energy, success, enthusiasm, motivation and inspiration will rub of on you and help you to achieve your results. Idea 4. Habits - Shawn Achor said, "Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success". All successful athletes have habits which help them to be successful, business is the same, if we learn and develop these habits we are more likely to achieve success. Idea 5. Mentors - If we want to find our way around any city, it helps to have a map, make sure you have the correct road map and your in the right city. Mentors are people who have been there and done it, leverage their road maps for achieving results.read more
There are three main missions I have when I go to a business networking event: 1. Gain knowledge from people who know more than I do - such as speakers or panelists. 2. Make new connections I can leverage in the future. 3. Meet the RIGHT people. For me, it’s easy to spend two hours bouncing around from conversation to conversation and meet nobody that aligns with what I'm doing. I’ve fallen into this trap too many times: I get home, look at the business cards I've gathered, and realize that I could have been far more productive by tackling my overflowing email inbox than I was "networking" that night. To avoid falling into this time-wasting trap again, I've adapted my networking strategy. It all comes down to meeting these three core people:
- The Celebrity
- The Unsung Hero
- Network Holder
1. "Have you found a place to put your coats / bags, or are we just holding on to them?"
2. "Are you Italian?"
People always want to know why you think they’re Italian. This anonymous contribution comes from someone who says the line “does wonders on Tinder.” That must mean it works at conferences, too, right?
3. "After this, I'm thinking of flying to France, Hong Kong, or Rio. Which should I go to? Why?" Contributed by: Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer
4. "Are any of you experiencing issues connecting to the Wi-Fi?"
I mean, the answer is almost always ... "YES."
5. One time I introduced myself to someone & we wound up helping each other a ton. Let's make it round two? Contributed by: Matt Bilotti, Student Investor6. "Mind if I squeeze in and share this cocktail table?"
While this yields a one-word response, it serves as a staring point for approaching someone.
7. "That's a sweet startup tee. I think I've heard of that company ..." Contributed by: Harvey Simmons, Marketer & Product Evangelist
8. "Is your phone dying too? There's got to be somewhere to charge this."
Lingering around a charging station is also a great way to meet others doing the same.
9. "I like your bag. Where is it from?" Contributed by: Sasha Hoffman, Entrepreneur & Biz Dev
10. "Know anywhere I can get some good food or drinks around here?"
Even when the answer is “no,” we may find a new pal to go on a drink-finding journey with.
11. I'll be honest, the only person I know here is the bartender, and I just met him. Mind if I introduce myself?
12. Looks like I'm not the only crazy chick who showed up in heels. How are you holding up all day?
13. Gotta love bathroom wait lines, am I right?
No. No one loves these lines, but might as well chit chat while we wait.
14. I'm tired of chatting with my colleagues - I see ‘em all the time. What are you all talking about? Credit: Pete Holmes
15. I'm not sure I knew what to expect when I came here. Have you been before? Contributed by: Meghan Anderson, Product Marketing Director
16. "How are you guys getting to the next event? Want to share a cab?"
Oftentimes, people don’t have a plan yet. Offer a ride-share and secure yourself a set time to connect with them.
17. "Have you downloaded the mobile app? Which sessions have you selected through it?" Contributed by: Rachel Sprung, Product Marketing Manager
18. "If there’s one question you don’t want me to ask because you’re sick of answering it, what would that be? Credit: Conversation Arts
19. "You guys look like you're having the most fun here, mind if I join this conversation?" Contributed by: Corey Eridon, Managing Editor
20. "Is it quieter on this side of the room? I can hardly hear over there." Credit: The Muse
21. "Have you checked out [XYZ] app? What did you think?" Contributed by: Brian Balfour, VP of Growth
Simply replace [XYZ] with the hottest app of that year - Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, etc.
22. Man, I hate networking.
Might as well start with the one thing just about every attendee has in common. ;)This article appears courtesy of Beyond Tinder: 22 Conversation Starters For All Our Networking Needs. read more
We’re living in an interesting paradox – despite the advancement of technology and tools built to help save us time … our time is actually becoming more scarce. We have more responsibilities to uphold, decisions to make, and goals to meet. And for those of us who value networking, we must find some way to allocate the remainder of our precious time to building that network.