You never know when you're going to end up in a conversation that could lead to your next job. The goal of chatting with people at events is to discover shared interests that help you reconnect later. Fast Company recently published a great article to guide you in using small talk to make networking connections.
While the main purpose of small talk is not solely to discuss business, you should find a balance between letting others know what you do and what experience you have, while not only talking about work the whole time. Discuss topics that are of interest to you, but also try and determine what may be of interest to your conversation partner. Staying relaxed and enjoying the conversation are key to engaging in successful small talk.
Fast Company suggests using the following questions to get the conversation flowing:
- "What’s your connection to the event?"This question can uncover mutual contacts and usually leads to a more robust answer than if you asked the typical “Have you been to this event before?”
- "What’s keeping you busy when you’re not at events like this or at work?" This question gives the encouragement necessary for the person to share his/her passions and outside interests.
- "How did you come to be in your line of work?" Having a chance to revisit their story to success can leave helpful clues along the way as to who they are and what makes them tick.
To read the rest of the article's conversation openers, check out the full story. CAC also offers several resources on small talk in situations including networking and informational interviews, which can be found here and here.
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