Some alternative conversation starters for networking events

Recently I tripped over an article I had saved a few years ago about conversation starters to help break the ice at business networking events. Given that a while has passed since the article was published I thought I would use its thoughts as a basis for a, er, new article on how to create a little fun with business networking conversation starters today.

comedy article about business networking

“Hello. Is this your first time at this event?”

With many thanks and commiserations to the original author of this article: I would love to have credited you properly but as my admin systems are a mess, voilà. Sorry. Message me and I will make amends. Promise.

My evil thoughts about the following:

1) “Well, while we’re here, I might as well introduce myself.” Give them a dark look, then say “I was just on my way to the toilet. Shall we go and introduce ourselves there?”

2) “Are you having issues with the Wi-Fi?” Say “no, I’m a Reiki practitioner and I fixed it via telepathy. How about you?” Then stare at them and wait for them to think of something else.

3) “That [food or beverage] looks great. Where did you find it?” Gesture towards the obvious bar / buffet table then say, “actually there’s a much better buffet through that door on the right, marked “staff only.'” Keep your face straight and deadpan.

4) “Do you know if there’s a coat check?” Shiver slightly then say, “I don’t know. I gave my coat to the homeless person outside the door when I came in.”

5) “I can’t believe how cold/hot/beautiful it is today.” Smile, then say, “OK, so don’t believe it. Are you British by any chance?”

6) “Are you here with colleagues?” Glance sideways in a shifty way, then say “actually I work for their competitors and am here a solo mission to steal their technology, but please don’t tell anyone.”

7) “You guys look like you’re having the most fun over here. Mind if I join this conversation?” Look at the others then say, “yes, you have to buy a ticket to join this conversation. You can get one over there.” Point to area farthest away.

8) “Are you here to see anyone in particular?” Smile, then say “well, I actually came here to fix their laser printer but saw there was a party going on so thought I’d join in. How about you?”

9) “Did you all come here together, or did you meet here?” A quick, nervous smile, then say “well, we all met up at a swinging orgy last night and thought we’d better come here today so we know what everyone looks like with their clothes on.”

10) “Hi, I’m ‘X.'” Get them to love you right away by saying something like “REALLY? Oh, gosh, I thought you were George Clooney / Gwyneth Paltrow / (as appropriate.) You’re so like him/her. Has anyone ever told you that?” While they’re smiling at the flattery, walk off.

11) “Did you hear X speak?” Try “yes. Wasn’t she terrible? She’s your boss, isn’t she?”

12) “Have you ever been to X down the street? I’ve really wanted to check it out.” Stand back and smile; “off you go then. Don’t let me hold you up any longer.”

13) “Are you speaking at this event?” Look shocked. “I did. Where were you?”

14) “Is this your first time at this event?” Go “this is everyone’s first time at this event.”

15) “Did you understand what the speaker meant when she said, ‘X’?” A quick sarcastic look, then “yes, of course. She was referring to the tangential malfunction of the anticipated exponential dilution of correlated paradigms within the measurements identified by our KPIs. Now let me explain that to you in detail – should only take about 20 minutes.”

16) “I’m tired of talking to my colleagues — I see them all the time. What are you guys talking about?” Smile, then “we’re tired of talking to your colleagues too. Eff off.”

17) “Alright, I’ve got an awesome marketing joke for you.” Start to laugh and say, “and you’re it, aren’t you!”

What friendly, positive conversation starters along these lines can you think of?

Join in and share!

Image thanks to Jonathan Lin on Flickr.