With the new year on the horizon, it’s not surprising that that writers are dropping by B2W looking for networking tips … Going to events such as London Screenwriters’ Festival and London Book Fair is bound to be on alot of your new year resolutions lists!
But preparation is good practice when it comes to networking, so thinking ahead about how you’re going to ‘work the room’ in advance can really play dividends. This is why I love these questions from Nicole that can really help break the ice. Over to you, Nicole …
Networking is the cornerstone of any corporate and entrepreneurial agenda. The ability to initiate a good conversation at networking events is intertwined with an individual’s professional growth. More so in creative fields such as writing. But usually, writers have an introverted predisposition. They find it difficult it to start a conversation and break the colloquial ice. Then check out these tips out for size:
LEVEL 1 – The Basics
Did you know that recent surveys indicate that 85% of people landed into their current jobs via effective networking? Knowing effective conversation-starters and being proactive go a LONG way in finding the right connections!
I am a writer and I landed one of my first customers in a bus. True story! I overheard two people talking about their content writing needs. All I needed to do was walk up to her, introduce myself and share my credentials, and I had a customer.
But if you’re too shy for this, that’s okay. Here are some basic conversation-starters for those who want to keep it simple:
- “Hello, I am [X] and work at [Y]. I don’t know many people around here.”
- “Pleased to meet you. So, what do you do?”
- “This weather sure is chilling/wet/boiling. Don’t you think so?”
- “Did you try these [food/drinks]? These are out of the world.”
- “How’s your day going? Find any interesting people around?”
A genuine smile and air of approachability make these conversation starters a classic move for newbies (bonus points: these need ZERO preparation!).
LEVEL 2 – Crank It Up A Notch
Imagine attending an international literary event and someone comes up to you and says, “Tell me one book which makes you cry every time you read it’. You think hard and reply. And then naturally you reciprocate the question. Soon you are involved in a deep and lively conversation about writers and literature with a stranger you just met! Wow!
This section explores few similar kinds of conversation starters which are one level higher than the more generic ones mentioned above.
- “How did you come across this event/gathering?”
- “What do you personally feel about [xyz] speaker’s talk on [abc]?”
- “So, what’s your reason behind coming to this event?”
- “Did you read about [news headline] today? It was striking how [say something startling about the newspiece].”
- ‘What do you want to get out of this event, ideally?”
For those people who aren’t big fans of casual banter and are set on having more insightful conversations with other, this list is for them. So, next time you are at a networking event, try breaking the ice with one of these and see the magic unfold.
LEVEL 3 – The Wildcards
So what do you do when you are undecided on whether you want to coast through a networking event or actually go and meet the big-shots? You try an eclectic mix of conversation starters and see which one hits the bulls-eye. Below given is a list of some funny and clever opening lines, which usually appeal to people’s psychology:
- “Do you hate networking as much as I do?”
- “Are you from around here? Do you know any good cafes nearby?”
- “So tell me the worst opening line you have heard til date. 10 bucks says I have heard worse.”
- “What do you like doing once you escape work?”
- “Can you suggest me some books to read? Haven’t picked up one in years”
More often than not, not talking about the networking event helps you strike up a great conversation with others. Such unexpected opening lines bring in the element of surprise; a rare quality in networking events where people usually come-off as predictable and boring.
Networking events provide rare opportunities to connect with like-minded people. Don’t miss out on establishing contacts with them just because you lack the ability to initiate a conversation. Confidence attracts people. It makes them like you. It makes them want to talk to you. So all you need is a smidgen of courage and a mental note of these conversation starters to kick-start your professional growth.
BIO: Nicole is a guest blogger and a ghost writer. She likes to cover topics related to technology, education and writing. She is also a freelance assignment writer with an assignment help company and dreams of setting up her own writing company someday. She loves to write assignments on management and law, and all it takes is for you to tell her write my university assignments and she will get started immediately.