Do you enjoy going to networking events but the idea of having countless small talk conversations makes you cringe? You are not the only one. Not many people are interested in talking about the weather when the hall is full of great people and endless possibilities for making great deals, forming partnerships and business collaborations.
But, if not with a simple small-talk-like conversation starter how can you approach someone? What to talk about? Small talk is considered the icebreaker at networking events. But even the most innocent small talk initiative can easily backfire.
Let’s be honest: entrepreneurs and investors at networking events aren’t there for the chit-chat. They look for more. If you wonder how to start a conversation without being too boring, here are three conversation approaches that will help you cut through the small talk effortlessly and with style.
The one thing you have in common with everybody in attendance is the event itself. “It is a great event. Is this your first time attending or you’ve attended last year as well?” This question will show that you are interested in the other person’s story and will lead the conversation straight to the motives for attendance. It is a great way to learn more about the business of others without sounding too direct.
Tip: Check out the website and the social media channels of the event to see how previous events went and to learn more about the crowd (especially the regulars).
The current events
There is always something exciting happening in the world. As an entrepreneur, who is setting the trends, staying informed about the trending topics is a must. Incorporate some exciting positive news or trends into a conversation that can be relevant to the situation and you are up for a start of an interesting discussion. People tend to remember others, who have made them think about a specific topic. Use the hot interesting news as a stepping stone to a deeper conversation.
Tip: Browse regularly trending headlines and read the hot articles even if the topics aren’t in particular of your interest.
Many entrepreneurs don’t just briefly introduce themselves but begin a long monologue about their business. This is a huge mistake! In order to have a fruitful and memorable conversation, make sure that you show genuine interest in your interlocutors. Ask relevant questions, listen to what they say and reply accordingly.
Tip: Ask questions beyond the usual What do you do? and What is your business about? Connect with your interlocutors by asking what drives them, what made them start, what are the biggest challenges they face. This will help you connect on a deeper level and may even result in forming a strong business relationship and partnership in the future.