Some people excel at networking events. They are social animals, able to start a conversation with complete strangers and by the end of the conversation, the other person feels like they’ve just met their new best friend.
But for others, networking events can be a challenge. Visitors often go specifically because they want to be recruited – which is hard enough for the attendee, but can also be especially hard for the recruiter, who has to balance both the awkwardness of the candidate and the expectations they have about the events.
How to Start a Professional Conversation
If you have never been to networking event before, or you find that starting these conversations can be difficult, the following are 15 questions to ask that can help you start a conversation and learn more about them as employees and as people:
- Are you actively seeking work or are you happily employed?
- What do you think of your job right now?
- Are you on a specific growth path at your company?
- Do you take advantage of any of your company’s perks?
- Are you connected to your co-workers?
- How would you describe your company’s culture?
- Was this the career path you always wanted or did you find yourself here?
- Have you been to any other networking events in the past?
- Are there any training courses that you’ve completed? Did your company set them up for you?
- What kind of work environment do you like most?
- Do you have any professional goals over the next few years?
- Do you feel like your company is innovative and likely to keep growing?
- How do you feel about the industry in general?
- Do you feel challenged?
- Do you find much time to travel, for business or pleasure?
You’re also under no obligation to talk only about the professional. You may find that there is plenty you can learn about someone by talking about personal interests, hobbies, and so much more. All that really matters is getting the conversation started, and for that, there may only be one question you need to ask:
- Hi. What’s your name?