Updated: Apr 30, 2019
When it comes to networking, here’s a secret: Everyone feels a little awkward introducing themselves to strangers. But it’s a whole lot easier when you have conversation starters ready to go. We’ve gathered 20 of our favorites for a variety of networking events. Try these out and you’ll make some great new connections – and maybe even have a good time!
Conversation Starters for Any Event
Certain ice breakers are tried and true, regardless of the event. Keep these in your back pocket for when you need a simple, friendly way to get the conversation rolling.
Ask the basics – “So, what brings you here today?”
Talk about the food – “The cheesecake is calling to me. Would you like me to get you one too?”
Comment on the weather – “What a gorgeous day! It’s a shame we’re cooped up in here. They should offer outdoor conferences!”
Ask about the event – “What’s your favorite session so far?”
Compliment them – “I’m so glad you asked that question in the last session. I was wondering the same thing.”
Conversation Starters at an Industry Event
If you’re at an event within your industry or profession, use your status as a recent graduate to encourage conversation. You’ll find most people are happy to share insights with a newcomer
to the field.
Ask about their job – “I see from your badge that you work at Smith Inc. What do you do there?”
Talk about industry trends – “The keynote was fascinating. What do you think about this new direction for our industry?”
Comment on a session – “I’m really excited to attend the technology session next. Are you going to that one?”
Look for advice – “I’m fairly new to the industry. Have you worked in this field for a long time?”
Ask about the event – “Have you been to this conference before? This is my first time.”
Conversation Starters at a Mixed Crowd Event
When you attend an event with a mixed business crowd, look for ways to make a connection right off the bat. Get them talking about themselves and a great conversation is sure to follow.
Ask about their location – “Where are you from? Did it take long to get here?”
Be interested – “So, what’s your story?”
Talk about the event – “What made you decide to attend this event?”
Find something in common – “I see you have a University of Tennessee sticker on your laptop. I just graduated from there!”
Compliment them – “I love your phone case! Where did you get it?”
Conversation Starters at a Local Event
If you’re at a local event, this opens up more potential for friendly questions. Find out what you have in common and build from there.
Ask about similar events – “I really like this event. Do you know of any similar ones in the city?”
Talk about the venue – “This event space is quirky but has everything you need. What do you think?”
Comment on traffic – “Did you have any trouble with the construction on 476 this morning? I just made it in time.”
Ask about their hometown – “So, are you originally from Lexington?”
See if you have mutual acquaintances – “I see you work at ABC Inc. My friend Ashley works there. Do you know her?”
When it comes to starting conversations at networking events, there’s no need to feel awkward. Keep it simple, look for connections, and try to put the person at ease. The process will soon become second nature.