7 Captivating Networking Conversation Starters
Networking can be stressful and awkward. Especially when you may not know anyone at the event. In order to effectively mingle and not just be a wallflower, have a few conversation starters ready to use. Here are 7 Captivating Networking Conversation Starters from fellow dietetic professionals.
1. I find this question can lead to shared passions that promote a deeper connection, ‘How do you enjoy spending time outside of work?’– Tiffany Calcutt, RDN.
2. In Muncie, IN, we have one simple question, ‘What does food mean to YOU?’to spark a conversation between students and teachers and professionals alike in different settings. This can really get a group talking and sharing about something each member can relate to while standing distinct and being unique themselves. –Jonathan Isbill, Masters student at Ball State University, Twitter: @ZaZa_GOML
3. ‘What’s the most exciting place you have ever visited?’This question usually evokes happy and pleasant memories and the person becomes relaxed, letting their guard down. – Jerlyn Jones, MS, MPA, RDN, LD, CLT, Twitter: @jerlynnutrition.
4. I love learning about what areas of dietetics interest others. During networking events, I usually ask, ‘What sparked your interest in your area of expertise?’or ‘How did you get into working with your specific population/niche?’ – Samina Qureshi, RDN, LD, IFNCP, Twitter: @WholesomeStart.
5. One question I have started asking instead of the typical ‘What do you do?’ question is ‘What fun “aha” moments have you recently had?’You can follow this upwith, ‘Tell me more…’and ‘What was that like for you?’It’s a sure way to get more interesting and deeper conversations. – Sonja Stetzler, MA, RDN, CPC.
6. I personally enjoy asking, ‘What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten and where was it?’ Most people have an interesting food story to share and you can use this at any type of networking event.
7. When at a professional conference session, turn to the person next to you and strike up a simple friendly conversation, either before or after the lecture (not during!), starting with, ‘I’m really excited about this lecture because…’ or ‘Have you ever heard this speaker talk or are you familiar with their work?’ or “That was an interesting slide! What did you think?“. Sometimes this can lead to more conversation and networking where the exchange can lead to new opportunities.
Make networking fun. Asking unique and interesting questions can help establish relationships, which is the ultimate goal of effective networking.
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