Small talk for network events

 In Small Talk

Small talk for network events

istockphoto xNetworking events: Conversations

Networking events offer the chance to meet people from your industry, make friends, and form partnerships. It is essential to be able to initiate and maintain conversations in order to get the most from these events.

How to make small talk

1. The venue or location

Talk about your surroundings. Is it a lovely hotel, home or conference area? Are there any notable places in the area? Have you been to a cool place nearby recently?

2. Entertainment

Discuss what you have been enjoying lately and what is on your to-do list. This could include Netflix shows you’re currently binging on, movies you’ve seen together, books you’ve read, podcasts you’re listening to, plays you’ve attended and so forth.

3. Art

Ask your friend if they are interested in art. Find out if they have recommendations for galleries. What genres and media they like.

4. Food

Because almost everyone loves food, it’s a great topic for small talk. Ask them which restaurants they recommend and what dishes they recommend. Ask them what dishes they prefer to cook at home if they don’t like eating out.

5. Hobbies

Learn about the passions of your partner. You’ll find them excited to share their passions with you, and it will allow you to get to know them better.

6. Work

It can be difficult to talk about your day job. Talking about your day job can be difficult. It’s easy to get bogged down in comparing what you do. Work is an interesting topic for small talks because most people have something to share.

7. Sports

Some people can talk all day about sports. Some people would prefer to talk about something else. Here are some guidelines for discussing sports.

First, ensure that everyone in your group is a sports enthusiast. It’s not a good idea to exclude anyone from taking part.
A heated conversation can be fun but not for your networking goals. Change the subject if you or your partner get agitated.

8. The weather

Weather is the perfect topic for small talk. It’s typically not the most scintillating conversation-starter, but with a little creativity you can spark some engaging discussions.

Have them talk about the climate in their area. Are they seeing a different climate from where they are now? Is it the same? Which do they prefer? They could live anywhere they wanted, but only based on weather conditions.

9. Travel

While not everyone will be a world traveler, asking them if they have been to interesting places in the past can help you discover new possibilities. This question can be used to get even the most reserved people talking about their favorite memories and exciting future adventures, from weekend getaways an hour away to major summer vacations or bucket list trips.

10. Their local favorites

This extra step makes the prospect feel at ease and shows that you care about their concerns. It also builds rapport.

Ask questions to start small talks

  • People enjoy sharing their interests and what they’re doing. Ask questions to your contacts. Ask follow-up questions and listen to what they have to share. This will show that you are interested in their thoughts and is open to hearing more.
  • You can ask people at a networking event what their goals are or what the ideal introduction would be. There might be common ground in your reasons for being there, or the people you wish to meet. It’s a great time to share your career goals, and to talk about what you love most about your job.
  • You’ll notice that conversation stalls from time to time. This is a great opportunity to change the topic and show your ability to converse. Think about the questions that might be most relevant to attendees of a conference or networking event.
  • The goals are achieved by asking questions to initiate a conversation. It takes away the responsibility of thinking of what you should say and allows you to spend your time listening. It engages immediately with your contact to start the conversation and break the ice.
  • You might ask someone how they got to where they are today.

Building relationships

A little bit of small talk is often the first step to building relationships. Do not launch into a rant about your career goals, or what you expect from someone else. Instead, have a small conversation with your contacts.
Before you start giving tips on making small talk work, it’s worth taking a moment to reconsider the idea of networking. Instead of seeing networking as something that is outside of your normal social interactions, consider it an extension of what already happens.

Networking is all about building relationships.
It is possible to start a conversation by simply walking up to someone at a networking event, or even asking them to join you at their table. It’s a great place to start a conversation. Talk about the food, and then see if it can be turned into a longer conversation. If not, you should. Ask the person you are seeing how it was.

Summary

Think about what you would say to someone new, or to someone you’ve not seen in years, when you start a conversation among industry peers or others in your network. Get to know the person you are talking to. There is no secret formula for networking. It’s about making connections with people who share your common knowledge and are working in your industry or one you are interested in joining.

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