You are aware of how much networking is important for you to succeed in your job search. Talking to other people is a skill, and everyone might not be up to it.

It may be easy for people who’re outgoing by nature, but what about people who struggle to make conversations with strangers?

Moreover, in order to network, one needs to keep meeting new people. What can one do in this case?

Well, there are strategies to make conversation and break the ice. And that’s important because networking still is one of the best ways to tell people you’re job-ready. Let’s read up on 5 networking conversation starters.

Introduce yourself

Start with a simple “Hi, I am XYZ”. Yes, it may seem difficult to walk up to strangers and introduce yourself, but it’s quite easier than you’ve imagined.

Make sure you make a strong and a confident handshake along with the salutation. Pay attention to the answer, because 9 out of 10 times usually, the person responds with their first name too.

You can simply lead-on the conversation by asking what they do, what brings them to the location you’re presently at, etc. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting that person’s name at the end of your conversation, else all efforts will go down the drain.

Find common topics

Say you meet a particular professional at a job fair. You could start off with asking what specifically are they looking for at the job fair, considering it’s something common between you two.

Ask them if they are on LinkedIn, and while you check their profile, you’ll get a better idea of what topics to bring up during the conversation. Try to show interest in what they’re interested in. Even better would be if you actually end up finding some common connections or common history. That would surely spark up a deeper conversation.

Asking for advice

One other tactic to be employed to ask for advice or information to the person you meet. Some questions you can ask are:

  • What is your passion? What do you love about your job?
  • How did you reach this position in your career?

Well, if you’re running out of professional topics to talk on, you could always ask something personal, ‘That shirt looks amazing! Where will I find it?’, or ‘That briefcase looks suave. Where did you get it?’. But be careful to not tread the line of being too personal because some people may not like it. And don’t go overboard with the compliments because that too may backfire.

Asking for help

When nothing else strikes you, you can always approach a stranger asking for help, isn’t it?

Normally everyone tries to help out someone who approaches for help, so you might be in luck. You can ask for help regarding the location, any address, or any general query too. Once you strike up a conversation on either one, you can manoeuvre the conversation to career or job interests and leave your business card with them. Always give them the option to connect back because that doubles your chances of making positive contact.

While these are great ways to start your conversation, you should keep in mind what NOT to talk about. Religion, politics, personal opinions, sensitive news etc. should be kept out of your conversation as much as possible.

Keep it healthy, and a mix of formal and light casual, and you’re good to make a killer conversation!