I get the biggest kick out of conversation “ice breakers,” at networking events. Sometimes they’re awkward…
Whether your conversation fizzles out after “So what do you do?” or your new acquaintance does their best roast of the local meteorologists because the weather is at the top of their list of things to talk about, it can feel a little cheesy and even generate some memorable awkward pauses.
But PLEASE…don’t hold that against ice breakers or networking events! Just change the conversation- start to explore their “why.”
You have a reason why you do what you do. You have a reason why you attend certain networking events. You even have a reason why you’re reading this blog post.
For example, you’re reading this post because you already recognize that networking is one of your most powerful tools to be more successful. You also know that simply going to networking events or making thousands of connections on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook aren’t necessarily going to help you be more of anything but busy (that’s another conversation for another time). Knowing this already, you’re looking for solutions to a very valuable question.
The question: “How can I network more effectively, more efficiently and have more fun building profitable, genuine connections?”
The answer: (Bad news first) There isn’t a silver bullet. (Good news) there are so many strategies and tactics you can begin using today to improve the way you’re networking. (Great News) Investing time to improve your skills will help you be a better networker but more importantly, investing time to improve your skills will open doors to all kinds of opportunities to be a better you.
As you work on improving your networking skills, remember: Your reasons why you do what you do are what gives each networking event, each conversation you have and each article you read significance. They have an impact on your business and subsequently, your life.
So let’s get back to that ice-breaker conversation. Forget about the weather– it’ll be waiting for you in the parking lot when you leave. Start by asking asking your fellow networkers,
“What brought you to this meeting today?”
Then, just listen. Ask other questions to help you get to the root of why they’re actually attending the same meeting as you. Maybe you can help them make a connection they’re looking for. Maybe they’re nervous and really don’t know why they’re there other than to see and be seen. Either way, they’re likely to ask you why you’re attending the same networking event and now you’re ready to share why you’re really here.
This technique is one of the easiest, most effective ways to get past the weather and make a meaningful connection from the start.