Personal relationships can still make or break your career. This is why people attend company and industry events; and why you must be skilled at introducing yourself.
When attending a networking event, you ought to have a strategy for getting to know other people. There is the tried-and-true elevator pitch, but that’s only appropriate in certain situations. Usually, more subtle icebreakers are the most effective way to form new connections.
Before you approach someone that you don’t know, be sure you’re not interrupting a conversation. Then, when it’s time to introduce yourself, you should have an effective follow-up to engage the other person.
Bring up the event
When you bring up the event you’re both attending, you’ve swiftly engaged them by mentioning something you have in common. This icebreaker naturally leads to both of you to sharing your views on the event. For example, if you’re at a conference and see someone from a talk you attended, you could say, “Didn’t I see you at the lecture this morning? What did you think about it?”
Use standard icebreakers
Standard icebreakers can be a bit cheesy, but they work because people would rather respond to them than deal with an awkward silence. Standard conversation starters typically focus on the food you’re eating, the drinks you’re having, personal hobbies, sports and the workweek.
If you’re feeling a bit more confident, you can ask about more personal topics like childhood memories or personal passions. In-depth icebreakers are best used when you feel and instant connection with someone.
Whatever conversation starter you use, make sure it doesn’t come off as a pick-up line. Networking isn’t a way to find a date!
Have prepared material
Public speaking coaches will tell you that the best way to get over the nerves of public speaking is to start out any speech with a personal story. This same tactic also works for breaking the ice.
Try to have one or two anecdotes prepared that can flow naturally into the type of conversation you’ll be having. This strategy should make natural use of opportunities to chime in without seeming unexpected or out of place. Also, you could slip in some details about what you do as well as showcase your expertise.
Announce a personal connection
Sometimes, you may be at an event hosted by a close personal connection or someone you know may be presenting a speech. In these instances, you can easily break the ice by bringing up your connection to the host/speaker and asking how the other person knows him or her. This establishes a social connection and naturally leads to a conversation about your common connection.
At Career Concepts, we have a vast network of professional connections that job seekers can take advantage of by simply working with us. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your career.