Networking conversation starters for solopreneurs

Conversation starters for networking events

Are you looking for ways to expand your business relationships and cultivate new business leads? As a solopreneur you often are working by yourself for long periods of time but guess what to grow your business you’re going to need to network. That means you’re going to need to get out there and start having conversations with real people. What??!!!
Yes, REAL PEOPLE. Let’s face it, your Twitter conversations won’t make enough of an immediate impact so you’ll want to attend a networking event, professional happy hour, chamber mixer, industry conference or tradeshow.
These in person activities and events are all excellent places to meet new clients and business associates. Have you given some thought to what you’re going to talk about with these new people? In a professional setting there are certain topics you’ll want to steer clear of like politics or the economy. No need to agitate someone unnecessarily right??

Do more listening than talking.

In these types of professional networking situations it's best to do more information gathering than talking about yourself.. at least initially. You’ll have the chance to share your professional expertise but you first have to engage them and get them interested in having the dialogue. Lucky for you people love to talk about their own stories. You’ll just want to brush up on your professional conversation starters ahead of time. Practice in the car. Practice while on a walk with your dog. Practice in the mirror or even better practice with a trusted friend who can offer you feedback on what questions engaged their interest and what questions fell flat.
Just make sure your conversation starters sound natural, sincere and not rehearsed… although you did practice. Have the confidence to put yourself out there and you’ll be starting networking conversations and building business relationships in no time.

Professional and effective conversation starters

Our GoNotes eNurturing users love to have conversations that build lasting relationships with clients. Recently, we asked them to submit their favorite professional (and most effective) conversation starters that they use when attending networking events.Try them out at an upcoming event and let us know how they worked for you.

  • What’s the best business advice you’ve gotten?
  • What’s the worst career advice you’ve gotten?
  • What do you love most about owning your own business?
  • What’s the most exciting thing that has happened in your business so far?
  • What’s been the most impactful way you’ve grown or marketed your business?
  • What inspired you to become an ( insert profession) or work in ( type) industry?
  • Outside of work- what do you like to do in your free time?

Here are some additional tips for networking events.

  • Bring plenty of business cards and make sure to ask your new contact for their information so you can stay in touch.
  • Bring your mobile device so you can show them a quick glimpse of your website or info video if time permits. WARNING don’t misunderstand this tip and spend time on your phone as that is a sure way to repel people who are trying to network and converse. It’s like wearing a sign that says “don’t talk to me I’m busy”. ONLY bring the phone out for show and tell…. if the conversations leads in that direction.

Want to learn more about networking for your small business. Check out these GoNotes community blog posts.

Make the most of networking events and tradeshows for your small business.
How to network and make meaningful business connections for your small business.
Turn your business contacts into loyal clients with these 4 easy steps.

What’s your best professional conversation starter?