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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 August 20, 2018

          Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What

          Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What

          Do you know that feeling? The one where you have to wake up to go to your boring 9-5 job to work with the same boring colleagues who don’t appreciate what you do.

          I do, and that’s why I’ve decided to quit my job and follow my passion. This, however, requires a solid plan and some guts.

          The one who perseveres doesn’t always win. Sometimes life has more to offer when you quit your current job. Yes, I know. It’s overwhelming and scary.

          People who quit are often seen as ‘losers’. They say: “You should finish what you’ve started”.

          I know like no other that quitting your job can be very stressful. A dozen questions come up when you’re thinking about quitting your job, most starting with: What if?

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          “What if I don’t find a job I love and regret quitting my current job?”
          “What if I can’t find another job and I get in debt because I can’t pay my bills?”
          “What if my family and friends judge me and disapprove of the decisions I make?”
          “What if I quit my job to pursue my dream, but I fail?

          After all, if you admit to the truth of your surroundings, you’re forced to acknowledge that you’ve made a wrong decision by choosing your current job. But don’t forget that quitting certain things in life can be the path to your success!

          One of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford:

          If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

          Everything takes energy

          Everything you do in life takes energy. It takes energy to participate in your weekly activities. It takes energy to commute to work every day. It takes energy to organize your sister’s big wedding.

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          Each of the responsibilities we have take a little bit of our energy. We only have a certain amount of energy a day, so we have to spend it wisely.  Same goes for our time. The only things we can’t buy in this world are time and energy. Yes, you could buy an energy drink, but will it feel the same as eight hours of sleep? Will it be as healthy?

          The more stress there is in your life, the less focus you have. This will weaken your results.

          Find something that is worth doing

          Do you have to quit every time the going gets touch? Absolutely not! You should quit when you’ve put everything you’ve got into something, but don’t see a bright future in it.

          When you do something you love and that has purpose in your life, you should push through and give everything you have.

          I find star athletes very inspiring. They don’t quit till they step on that stage to receive their hard earned gold medal. From the start, they know how much work its going to take and what they have to sacrifice.

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          When you do something you’re really passionate about, you’re not in a downward spiral. Before you even start you can already see the finish line. The more focus you have for something, the faster you’ll reach the finish.

          It is definitely possible to spend your valuable time on something you love and earn money doing it. You just have to find out how — by doing enough research.

          Other excuses I often hear are:

          “But I have my wife and kids, who is going to pay the bills?”
          “I don’t have time for that, I’m too busy with… stuff” (Like watching TV for 2 hours every day.)
          “At least I get the same paycheck every month if I work for a boss.”
          “Quitting my job is too much risk with this crisis.”

          I understand those points. But if you’ve never tried it, you’ll never know how it could be. The fear of failure keeps people from stepping out of their comfort zone.

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          I’ve heard many people say, “I work to let my children make their dream come true”. I think they should rephrase that sentence to: “I pursue my dreams — to inspire and show my children anything is possible.” 

          Conclusion

          Think carefully about what you spend your time on. Don’t waste it on things that don’t brighten your future. Instead, search for opportunities. And come up with a solid plan before you take any impulsive actions.

          Only good things happen outside of your comfort zone.

          Do you dare to quit your job for more success in life?

          Featured photo credit: Jadon Barnes via images.unsplash.com

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