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10 Professional Networking Conversation Starters

10 Professional Networking Conversation Starters

Meeting new people is always a challenge, especially for an introvert. Yet, a professional network is essential for several reasons. A network keeps you informed of changes and developments in your field as well as offering a lifeline if laid off or unexpectedly fired. Here are 15 ways to get the conversation started and build your professional network.

1. Start With A Compliment

If you don’t feel comfortable complimenting the person, for fear it may be mistaken for flirtation, begin the conversation by complimenting the place where the event is being held. Compliment the food or the drinks being offered by saying, “Wow, what a great spread. These folks really know what they’re doing.”

2. Go Ahead And Talk Shop

It is entirely appropriate to strike up a conversation about what you do and what you do well. The key here is to open up the conversation for the other person so that you are not talking to yourself. Ask what the other person does, how long they’ve been in the profession, etc. for a lively conversation.

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3. Ask For Help

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    Is there a particular aspect of your professional career that needs shoring up? For example, as a freelancer part of my job is connecting with people in need of writing services. Is there a talent or skill that could solve a problem for the other person? In either case, the open question is a good start.

    4. Simply Introduce Yourself

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      Remember to give a firm handshake. A simple, “Hi my name is. . .” is a very simple and great way to strike up a conversation. A polite introduction, of course, gives the other person an opportunity to return the introduction and begin talking.

      5. Talk About Background

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        It helps to be curious about others when striking up a conversation, especially in a professional networking circumstance. You may find common ground while getting to know others. Open-ended questions are always a great way to get the conversation moving.

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        6. Get Personal

        Have a hobby? Sports fan? These may be a good topic to “break the ice” and get the conversation going. Talk about the last book that you read. What points did you find to be the most interesting? The idea is to try to find some common ground.

        7. Talk About Ongoing Projects

        This will hopefully lead the other person into talking about their own work projects. Exchange ideas in an informal brainstorming session. You may be surprised by what you learn. Keep the conversation going by having an open mind, while extending the conversation to others.

        8. Ask A Hypothetical Question

        Asking about what changes the person might like to see in the workplace or where they see themselves in ten years are good places to start a conversation. These types of hypothetical questions don’t need to be work-related, and they can inject some fun in the conversation.

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        9. Ask What Is Most Interesting About Their Field

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          You are very likely to come to some common ground with this question. Be sure to exchange business cards, in order to help their customers or have them help yours. Part of the goal of professional networking is to expand your business opportunities.

          10. Ask What They Hope To Gain From The Experience

          This question will lead to wider avenues of conversation. The benefit of professional networking is to interlink with those both inside and outside of your field. Both types of people help you advance, which is one of the many goals of having a professional network.

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          Last Updated on January 21, 2020

          How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

          How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

          If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

          Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

          So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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          1. Listen

          Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

          2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

          Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

          “Why do you want to do that?”

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          “What makes you so excited about it?”

          “How long has that been your dream?”

          You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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          3. Encourage

          This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

          4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

          After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

          5. Dream

          This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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          6. Ask How You Can Help

          Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

          7. Follow Up

          Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

          Final Thoughts

          By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

          Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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          Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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