Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

3. Ask For Help

1-bitt

    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

    Advertising

    1-bitt

      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

      1-bitt

        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.

        Advertising

        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.

        Advertising

        9. Ask What Is Most Interesting About Their Field

        1-bitt

          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.

          More by this author

          20 Awesome DIY Office Organization Ideas That Boost Efficiency 25 Simple And Creative Ways To Cheer Someone Up 25 Bathroom Hacks You’ll Want to Share With Everyone The Best Answers to the 7 Worst Interview Questions 10 Benefits of Bitter Melon That Makes It Even More Worth Eating

          Trending in Communication

          1 5 Things to Do If You Don’t Want to Get Back to Work 2 Take Back Control of your Life with Positive Emotions 3 Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again 4 I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life! 5 Steps to Get Unstuck 5 This Is How Mentally Strong People Deal With Guilt

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on October 14, 2020

          Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

          Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

          Today didn’t turn out as you planned, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because you had a bad day.

          “Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle

          It’s not the end of the world when you find yourself thinking “I had a bad day,” but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.

          You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.

          Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.

          Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you center yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.

          Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!

          1. Make a Gratitude List

          In a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives[1].

          Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.

          Write a list of what you are grateful for if you had a bad day. Make it as long as you like, but also remember to note why you’re grateful for each thing you write.

          What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.

          Advertising

          The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things of value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, or simply being alive.

          Here are some other simple ways to practice gratitude.

          2. Write in a Journal

          Journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more[2].

          All you need is a pen and paper, or you could do an online, password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.

          Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions.

          However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.

          3. Meditate

          Meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day[3]. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.

          Here is an example of a meditation you can do:

          Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.

          Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.

          Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative thoughts. Think about the ways you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.

          Advertising

          Give yourself unconditional love and release judgment. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important if you had a bad day.

          Check out this article for more on how to get started with a meditation practice.

          4. Do Child’s Pose

          Yoga Outlet says:

          “Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”[4]

          When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relax the mind.

          It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion[5].

          To do Child’s Pose, rest your buttocks back on your feet, knees on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor[6].

          Had a bad day? Try Child's Pose.

             

            Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you’ve had a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.

            5. Try Positive Self-Talk

            Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.

            Advertising

            When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.

            Negative self-talk fits into four general categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white[7].

            When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.

            When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself if you had a bad day.

            Check in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?

            6. Use Coping Skills and Take a Break

            Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.

            You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or read a book.

            It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you.

            Sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action as sometimes stepping away is the only way to see the solution.

            If you had a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break, so take one.

            7. If a Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days

            “I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –Jim Carrey

            If you’ve been feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for more than a few weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help.

            You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel, but don’t let it consume you.

            When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a series of bad days.

            If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay, too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.

            Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.

            Final Thoughts

            If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.

            Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. But there is something you can do about it.

            You can invest in yourself via self-care.

            You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you are the positive things you tell yourself.

            More Things You Can Do If You Had a Bad Day

            Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next