Say that 10X fast!
In boxing, typically in the first round of a professional fight, the fighters take their time as they study their opponent and get in the groove. Well, when it comes to networking (BTW, boxing and networking are both about making connections!), I believe the opposite is true – it’s helpful to come out swinging!
In other words, start your conversations with something personal (not too personal), relatable, and when possible – funny.
Questions come in handy when starting a conversation! Here are some “openers” I used recently at an event with financial services professionals that included asset managers, financial product wholesalers, analysts, and fin-tech developers.
-How was your holiday weekend? What did you do?
-Did you know the Peloton studio is right across the street?
-Do you know you’re the only person wearing a tie?
-What was the most interesting takeaway from the AI presentation?
-Weren’t the speakers great? What was the best takeaway for you?
-Great to see you again! What brought you back?
-Outstanding presentation! How many times have you done that?
-Nice vest! Is it national vest day? (Yes, I said that.)
I walked out of the event giggling about the conversations I started about Peloton, fitness, travel, where we grew up, fashion, and Nicholas Cage. (Yep!)
These conversation starters have led to some great business networking conversations that became easy, fun, and perhaps profitable. Now, the follow up!
The key is to be collaborative, light, fun, and include others as appropriate. Don’t try to be someone else or put on an act, simply kick your own energy up a notch (or in some cases, down a notch).
Be the best version of YOU.
Truth be told, I don’t always get this right. Sometimes I’m a slow starter and wait for the second round, but when I get back to leading with my best punch (relatable stories, great opening questions) with conversation starters like these, I feel the connections are easy and fun!
🥊What are YOUR favorite conversation starters?
Always direct, helpful and humorous in teaching all of us networking skills. I meet a lot of new advisors who admit to being terrible at this. I hope you send this out to everyone, everywhere.
Thank you for the kind words, Gail! We can all use a brush up from time to time!