Three Rules for Networking Conversations

BY Jessica Helinski
Featured image for “Three Rules for Networking Conversations”

The networking of a salesperson is never done. A steady stream of industry events, trade shows, and seminars can be exhausting–but they are also necessary. But, effective networking isn’t always easy, and even the most outgoing rep runs out of icebreakers. In a recent Inc. article, Minda Zetlin shares 16 conversation starters that help the next time you need to chat up a stranger. “Starting a conversation with a stranger can be daunting, but it really isn't that hard,” she writes. “There are really only three rules: Be pleasant and upbeat; be open and straightforward; and say something the other person will want to hear.”

Her suggestions run the gamut from the typical conversation openers to more specific and timely topics, including:

  • "Is this your first time at this event?" This starter is great for industry vets and new reps. If you’ve attended the event in the past, offer pointers if the other person hasn’t. If it’s your first time, you can be the one to ask for suggestions and tips.
  • "I really liked that thing you said." Want to get a word in with a speaker? You will get her attention by mentioning something specific from her presentation.
  • "What do you recommend?" “This could apply to a choice of sessions to attend, or hors d'oeuvres to taste, or even a tray of cocktails,” Zetlin writes. “Whatever the case, everyone loves to be asked for an opinion.”
  • I’ve been wanting to meet you.” Why not get to the point immediately? Introduce yourself, and then let the person know why you’ve been keen to speak to him or her.

These are just a few of the tips Zetlin shares, and anyone can use her easy conversation starters in a variety of settings. Take a look over her list and prepare yourself to break the ice at your next event.