Small talk with a stranger doesn’t always come easily. Kudos to networkers for putting ourselves out there and making an effort to connect! With that being said, some make connections easier than others — especially those who use lines like the ones below.
The following are lines I've overheard at mixers, conferences, and meet and greets on my networking journey. The first line is what I heard. The second line is what I think would’ve made a better impression.
This was asked by someone trying to be funny who’d obviously been to the open bar more than once already that evening.
This open-ended question would’ve allowed quick bonding and uncovered details for asking follow up questions. For example, if the response was, “I’m here because my boss made me.” He could’ve replied, “Are you an introvert? I am and these things can be so uncomfortable.”
This question can prompt follow ups like: “Who’s your stylist?” Or “Do you have a favorite designer?”
This question was accompanied by an “Ew!” facial expression and finger point at the appetizer 3/4 of the way to the attendee’s open mouth.
Everyone loves food. Asking someone their opinion on the menu can suggest follow up questions like: “What else is on the appetizer table? Any recommendations?”
This gives a time frame for your companion’s memory search allowing them to answer quickly, then invite you to answer the same question.
I usually steer the conversation to an end with the question, “What can I do to help you?” It sounds sincere because I really mean it. Even if there’s nothing my company can do for her at the present time, I can like her company’s social media pages, subscribe to the newsletter, etc. If you take a genuine interest in people, your authenticity will shine. What cringeworthy lines have you overheard at networking events?
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