When You Hate Networking
Networking can enact the feelings you had back in middle school when you knew you wanted to have a group of friends, but the only thing you knew you had in common was that you had frizzy hair and braces. Nowadays thanks to hair care maintenance you no longer have the frizzy hair, but you still get that feeling to shake someone's hand and say "Hey, I'm an adult with a job, and you are an adult with a job, let's be friends."
As tempting as it may be to skip networking or social events, it can damage your career. No matter what field you are in, you need to have a village surrounding you. The next time you find yourself at a networking event, try these icebreakers to get the conversation rolling.
1. If you are attending an external event, simply ask "How did you find out about this event?"
A standard icebreaker to see how the event became a go to for the person you are talking too. They may mention they heard about it from a friend, which you can then ask how they met that friend, did that friend accompany them, etc. People love to talk about themselves and their lives, so as long as you stoke the fire a little bit, your conversation will flow instantaneously.
2. What is a non-typical day like with your job?
Everybody is aware that an accountant plays with numbers, a doctor sees patients, a writer writes, but what about the non-typical office days. The days that might be few and far between, but they still happen. See if you can get other guests talking about things that are not typical with their current jobs, you will see a looser side to them because in most cases there is a fun story involved.
3. I have to ask, what did you want to be when you were ten years old?
Nothing and I mean nothing gets people jogging down memory lane then asking them what they wanted to be when they were younger. It can also show you a piece of their personality you may not have seen right away.
What are your go to networking ice breakers? Share with the class in the comments below!