The whole point of networking is to connect with like-minded individuals. However, if conversation starters aren’t your speciality, networking can seem a bit daunting. What are the best ways to get an interesting conversation off the ground at a networking event? In this blog post, we’ll be running through a bunch of brilliant networking conversation starters to keep in your back pocket. Let’s begin.  

The Classics

When in doubt, turn to the classics. These easy-openers will get you past any possible awkwardness to begin with and point the conversation in the right direction. The trick is to introduce yourself whilst also leaving room for the person to talk about themselves. Something as simple as:


1. ‘Hi, I’m [insert name]. How’s it going?’  


This casual opener is a surefire way to show you’re approachable and easy to talk to. If you want to switch up the angle into something more interesting, try:


2. Hi, I’m [insert name]. What’s your story?’ 


An interesting angle leads to interesting answers. By approaching the conversation with the word ‘story’, you’ll open the playing field for the speaker to take it whichever way they please. 


If you want to be more direct, you could switch it to:


3. ‘Hi, I’m [insert name]. What line of work are you in?


It’s a classic, and you can do with it what you will. Getting to the point is what many people are after. However, in some situations, it can come across as a bit forward. It’s best to start out the conversation lightly—something like: 


4. ‘Hi—how’s your evening going?’ 


The above openers are classic openers for one-on-one conversations, but if you’re breaking into a larger group, classics include: 


5. ‘Hi guys—mind if I join? I’m [insert name].’ 


6. ‘Hi guys—do you all know each other?’ 


7. ‘Hi guys—how’s it going? I’m [insert name].’ 



The industry

We all know why we’re at a networking event: to find exciting opportunities. After the initial introduction, use these openers to switch the conversation to business matters: 


8. ‘So, how long have you been in [insert industry]?’ 


It’s vital to show interest in the other person’s profession. This doesn’t just include what the person has achieved in the past, but what they have planned for the future: 


9. ‘So, what sort of projects do you have lined up?’ 


This is a great way to test the waters as to potential openings and upcoming opportunities. You could even gauge their relation to current suppliers or manufacturers with something like: 


10. ‘So, who do you have managing your [insert] at the moment?’ 


Use questions like these sparingly—you’ll know when the right time is to use them. In the meantime, try turning the conversation towards networking itself:


11. ‘So, how long have you been networking?’


12. ‘How did you first get into networking?’  


13. ‘Do you come to these events often?’


(And if the answer is yes): 


14. ‘What groups do you go to?’ 


Digging Deeper

A key component of networking is sharing knowledge between people. These next networking conversation starters are designed for one-on-one conversations when an opportunity arises to dig a little deeper. 


15. ‘Did you take anything away from the speaker/presentation?’ 


Reflecting on shared events is a great way to initiate an in-depth conversation. You and your interlocutor will be able to share your opinions and offer additional thoughts on various topics. It’s a great way to get on the same page. 


16. ‘What kind of skills are you using on the daily?’ 


Asking about the speaker’s duties on the job is another great way to build rapport between the two of you. Try tying this in with their professional history. Something like: 


17. ‘What’s the best piece of advice you received early on in your career?’ 


Or, on the other hand: 


18. ‘What’s the worst bit of business advice you’ve heard someone give?’ 


Both these questions will allow you to build common ground in regards to which business practices are valuable and which ones are counterproductive. 


19. ‘So, who are some of your inspirations?’ 


Depending on the industry your speaker is in, this question could allow you an insight into key figures from various industries as well as big-deal thinkers: anyone from Henry Ford to Mary Kay Ash. 


20. ‘Are you someone who enjoys networking, or just sees it as part of the job?’ 


A question like the above one is an excellent way to understand where the other person is coming from. Questions that dig deep allow us to make real connections with people. Try them out at your next networking event. 



Need a Network?

Here at Nexus Networking, we take managing and utilising business connections seriously. The benefits of professional networking are undeniable, and Nexus Networking makes every effort to ensure these benefits are had by all our members. 

Our weekly meetings take place across three separate groups based in Brentwood, Chelmsford, and Colchester, respectively. 

If you’re in need of a network, join us for a free meeting by clicking here and applying as a visitor through our website. Or, if you would like more information about Nexus, visit our website on, email any questions you may have to, or give us a call on 01206 588 000.