Networking & Small Talk Strategies

Networking & Small Talk Strategies

As a natural extrovert, networking and small talk come easily to me, but I still put thought in to them.

If you are an introvert, networking and creating conversations with strangers may be both painful and exhausting. It is an important part of life and often brings gifts to those who do it well. Although you may never love it, I hope some strategies and ideas here will make it less painful and more productive for you.

Maybe you don’t mind networking but don’t feel very good at it. Often we just go to networking events without any forethought. Let’s chat about being more intentional.

Networking and small talk opportunities present themselves all the time. It can be as spontaneous as starting a conversation in line at the grocery store but let’s look at the times when we are expecting (or expected) to do it.

Mixers and Networking Events

So, you are heading to a local Chamber event. It’s a mixer. You are supposed to “mix”. The thought may horrify you. Perhaps you have planned ahead and know someone that is coming that you can spend the time with. Here are some ideas:

  • Even if you are tempted to just stay with someone you know, prepare to include other people in conversation.
  • If you want to stay close to someone familiar pick someone who is good at networking so they can initiate conversations with others.
  • Prepare a few questions ahead of time that you can ask. Open-ended questions invite the other person to talk longer. That’s good! E.g. “What is a favorite vacation you have been on?”. “When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?” etc.
  • Use cues that people are wearing or carrying for a starting place. “That’s an interesting pin, tell me about it.” “What beer are you drinking? … What local breweries do you like?”

Many people love to be able to talk about themselves. If you get good at asking them questions you may find that they never take the initiative to ask you anything. It’s good to watch for little openings where you can interject something of yourself. However, being willing to let much of the conversation be about them is ok. When people feel listened to it really leaves them feeling good about you.

Here are some open-ended questions you can use when appropriate:

  • What do you like most about networking events?
  • How did you get interested in the work you are doing now?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
  • Who inspires you?
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  • What is one of your favorite movies/shows and what do you like about it?

Networking is easier if you focus on letting other people do most of the talking. That means being ready with questions, but make sure you are really listening. If you are nervous it may be tempting to be working on your next question. Just listen well instead. The next question will actually come more easily when you really listen well.

Happy networking!

Until next week,

Marilyn

Marilyn Orr is a Professional Certified Coach, who, through her coaching business “Capacity Building Coaching”, thrives on building both personal and organization capacity through leadership coaching and development.

If you are reading this blogpost, but are not subscribed to “Marilyn’s Musings” weekly blogposts, you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/brC4OD

(note: If you are having problems viewing images, click "Read in browser" below)

19 comments (Add your own)

1. wrote:
Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value
your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Fri, May 3, 2019 @ 8:07 AM

2. wrote:
Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.
Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
I'm thinking about making my own but I'm not sure where to
begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Many thanks

Mon, May 6, 2019 @ 8:05 PM

3. wrote:
When someone writes an paragraph he/she maintains the idea of a
user in his/her mind that how a user can be
aware of it. Therefore that's why this article
is outstdanding. Thanks!

Fri, May 10, 2019 @ 10:36 PM

4. wrote:
I am genuinely happy to glance at this webpage posts which includes lots of valuable data,
thanks for providing these statistics.

Sun, May 12, 2019 @ 4:29 PM

5. wrote:
Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with
us so I came to take a look. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm book-marking and will be tweeting this
to my followers! Terrific blog and excellent design.

Wed, May 15, 2019 @ 12:27 PM

6. wrote:
Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account
it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
By the way, how can we communicate?

Fri, May 17, 2019 @ 7:03 AM

7. wrote:
You are so awesome! I do not suppose I have read through a single thing like that before.
So nice to find someone with a few unique thoughts on this subject.
Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

Fri, May 17, 2019 @ 11:21 AM

8. wrote:
Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and
I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.
I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

Sun, June 2, 2019 @ 6:51 PM

9. wrote:
My spouse and I stumbled over here from a
different page and thought I should check things out.
I like what I see so now i'm following you. Look forward to exploring your web page repeatedly.

Tue, June 4, 2019 @ 1:02 PM

10. wrote:
Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you're working with?
I'm planning to start my own blog soon but I'm having
a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your design seems different
then most blogs and I'm looking for something unique.

P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

Sat, June 8, 2019 @ 12:52 AM

11. wrote:
Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to
help with SEO? I'm trying to get my blog to rank
for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good success.
If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

Tue, June 11, 2019 @ 8:18 PM

12. wrote:
Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was once a enjoyment account it.
Glance advanced to far delivered agreeable from you!
By the way, how can we keep up a correspondence?

Sun, June 16, 2019 @ 8:23 AM

13. wrote:
Hey There. I discovered your blog the usage of msn. That is a really smartly written article.
I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your helpful information. Thank you
for the post. I'll certainly comeback.

Mon, June 17, 2019 @ 9:30 AM

14. wrote:
Awesome issues here. I'm very glad to see your article.
Thanks so much and I'm taking a look ahead to touch you.
Will you please drop me a mail?

Mon, July 15, 2019 @ 5:59 AM

15. wrote:
Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am inspired!

Very useful info particularly the final section :) I deal
with such info a lot. I used to be looking for this certain information for a very long
time. Thanks and good luck.

Tue, July 23, 2019 @ 5:45 PM

16. wrote:
Actually no matter if someone doesn't understand then its up to other viewers
that they will assist, so here it takes place. natalielise plenty of fish

Wed, July 24, 2019 @ 2:51 AM

17. wrote:
My brother recommended I might like this website.

He was entirely right. This post actually made my day.
You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information!
Thanks!

Tue, August 13, 2019 @ 3:24 AM

18. wrote:
I need to to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it.
I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…

Wed, August 14, 2019 @ 11:02 PM

19. wrote:
This piece of writing offers clear idea in support of the new people of blogging, that actually
how to do blogging and site-building.

Mon, August 19, 2019 @ 4:05 PM

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.