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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 April 14, 2021

          How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

          How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

          We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

          Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

          Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

          Expressing Anger

          Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

          Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

          Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

          Being Passive-Aggressive

          This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

          Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

          This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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          Poorly-Timed

          Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

          An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

          Ongoing Anger

          Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

          Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

          Healthy Ways to Express Anger

          What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

          Being Honest

          Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

          Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

          Being Direct

          Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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          Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

          Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

          Being Timely

          When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

          Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

          Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

          How to Deal With Anger

          If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

          1. Slow Down

          From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

          In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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          When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

          2. Focus on the “I”

          Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

          When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

          3. Work out

          When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

          Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

          Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

          If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

          4. Seek Help When Needed

          There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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          5. Practice Relaxation

          We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

          That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

          Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

          6. Laugh

          Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

          7. Be Grateful

          It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

          Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

          Final Thoughts

          Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

          During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

          Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

          More Resources on Anger Management

          Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

          Reference

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