30 Surefire Networking Conversation Starters to Break the Ice

Professional networking is important for your career, but it can sometimes be awkward to walk right up to someone you don't know and start making a meaningful conversation. Fret not, we’ve got you covered with these 30 easy, non-awkward opening lines to take the stress out of your networking. It could just kick-start your next deal or a new career opportunity!

 

Just Say Hello

 

If you’re alone, scan the room for someone you would like to start a conversation with and proceed with these lines:

1. “Hello, I’m (name).” - Saying hello is a surefire way to break the ice. Say it with confidence to make you and the other party feel comfortable.

2. “Mind if I join?”​​

3. “How do you know [the name of the person/organisation who sent the invitation]?”

4. “It’s so loud over there.”

5. “Mind if I join you here where it’s quieter?”

 

Keeping the conversation going

 

Dale Carnegie famously said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

 

After Hello, show interest in the other party with these few basic lines that always work:

6. “What do you do?” - This gets the other party to open up first and you can think of how to approach the conversation from there.

7. “So, what brought you here today?”

8. “How did you find out about this event?”

9. “That's a nice…” - Use this if the party is wearing something striking.

10. “What do you think of the speaker/conference?”

11. Are you from [insert country/company]?”

12. “Do you work for [insert company]?”

13. “Did you have a hard time getting here?”

 

Getting deeper

 

14. “How long have you been a member of this [insert company]?”

15. “What do you like about your job?”

16. “How did you get into this job?”

17. “What projects do you have lined up?”

18. “What did you hope to get out of today?”

19. “Hey, are you friends with [fill in name]?”

 

About the location

 

If the conversation is getting nowhere, you can choose to move on or renew the conversation by bringing the focus back to the event:

20. “These appetisers are so good I’m getting another one. Care to join me?”

21. “Have you tried the [insert food/drink]?”

22. “The chicken is a little dry, huh?”

23. “That drink looks good. What is it?”

24. “Are you having trouble with the Wi-Fi?”

25. “Why is it so hot [or cold] in here?”

26. “This is a beautiful venue. Have you been here before?”

27. “Any chance you know a great [food/drink] place around here? I’m not familiar with this area and I’m headed to dinner after this.”

 

About current affairs

 

28. “Did you catch the news today?”

29. “What do you think of [ insert event or person]?” - While the news is always a great tool to keep the conversation going, keep things light-hearted and avoid getting into a political debate with the other party.

30. “Did you catch the game last night?”

 

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