25 August 2023

30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters

Networking is essential to professional growth, especially in a dynamic coworking space like Mobo Co. It opens doors to new opportunities, fosters collaboration, and broadens your knowledge base. “Networking Conversation Starters” are tried and tested openers that can help break the ice and kickstart meaningful conversations.

This article will explore 30 brilliant conversation starters you can use at your next networking event. These conversation starters are designed to be engaging, easy to use, and effective in various networking situations. Whether you’re a start-up entrepreneur, a small business owner, or part of a large corporation, using the list of conversation starters can help you make the most of your networking opportunities at Mobo Co.

The Classic Questions

Classic conversation starters are those that have stood the test of time. They are versatile, universally applicable, and have a proven track record of breaking the ice effectively. This question list is considered “classic” because it can be used in almost any networking situation, regardless of the industry or professional level of the individuals involved.

Let’s explore the first five classic conversation starters:

  1. That’s a nice suit you are wearing. Where did you get it from?” – This conversation starter is a classic because it opens with a compliment, making the other person feel appreciated and more open to conversation. It also allows one to discuss common interests like fashion or shopping preferences.
  2. Hi, I’m [Your Name] and I [What you do].” – This straightforward introduction is a classic because it provides clear information about who you are and what you do, which can help the other person find common ground or topics of interest for further discussion.
  3. “Do you have any networking tips for an introvert?” – This question is a classic because it shows your humility and willingness to learn from others. It can also lead to a deeper discussion about personal experiences and strategies for successful networking.
  4. “What do you like most about this event so far?” – This conversation starter is a classic because it focuses on the shared experience of the event. It allows the other person to share their thoughts and opinions, providing valuable insights and leading to further discussion.
  5. “Hi, do you work at [a certain company]?” – If you’ve done your homework and know a bit about the attendees, this question can lead to a discussion about their company and role. It shows your interest and initiative, which can be impressive to others.

These classic conversation starters are simple yet effective and can be your go-to option in any networking event. Remember, the key to a successful conversation starter is not just in asking but also in actively listening to the response and engaging in meaningful dialogue.

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All About Location

The location or setting of a networking event can provide a wealth of topics for conversation starters. Discussing the venue, the city, or even the room’s decor can help you connect with others on a shared experience. Here are sample questions all revolving around the theme of location:

  1. “How did you hear about this event?” – This question can lead to a discussion about local industry groups, social media platforms, or mutual connections, all tied to the local community.
  2. “Have you been here before?” – Asking about someone’s familiarity with the venue can lead to them sharing their past experiences, favourite location features, or tips about the best parking spots or menu items.
  3. “It’s so crowded in here. There must be a million people in this room.” This hyperbolic statement can serve as a light-hearted icebreaker, leading to a conversation about the event’s popularity or venue.
  4. “That was quite a speech. What is the one thing you got out of it?” – This question ties the location to the event’s activities, prompting a discussion about the event’s content and the speakers.
  5. “I love the salad. Have you tried it?” – Commenting on the food or drink at the event is another way to tie the conversation to the location, and it can lead to a discussion about personal preferences, dietary habits, or even cooking tips.

Remember, when using the location as a conversation starter, it’s important to be observant and genuine. Show genuine interest in the other person’s experiences and opinions, and use their responses as a springboard for deeper conversation.

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The Newsworthy

30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters

Discussing current events or recent news topics can be a great way to initiate a conversation. It shows that you are well-informed and engaged with the world around you and can also lead to stimulating discussions and diverse viewpoints. Here are fascinating and non-generic conversations, all centred around newsworthy topics:

  1. “How often do you attend networking events?” – This question can lead to a discussion about recent or upcoming industry events, networking trends, or personal event attendance strategies.
  2. “Was it easy for you to find this place?” – This question can lead to a conversation about local infrastructure or recent changes in the area, such as new construction or roadworks.
  3. “Have you been at the exhibition stands?” – This question can lead to a discussion about the companies or products being showcased at the event, recent industry developments, or personal opinions about the exhibits.
  4. “Hi, you work at [company where they work]. What is it like working there?” – This question can lead to a conversation about recent company news, industry trends, or personal experiences in the workplace.
  5. “Wow, the food looks good…I’m not sure what to have. What will you have?” – While this question may seem more related to the location, it can also lead to a discussion about recent food trends, dietary news, or personal health choices.

When discussing newsworthy topics, it’s important to be respectful and open-minded. Everyone has their perspectives and opinions, and a successful networking conversation should be a dialogue, not a political debate.

Suggested Reading: 20 Effective Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance in a Coworking Environment

Great for Introverts

30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters

Networking can sometimes be challenging for introverts, who may find large social gatherings overwhelming or draining. However, introverts can turn networking events into rewarding experiences with the right conversation starters. Here are thoughtful questions specifically designed for introverts:

  1. “Did you catch the game last night?” – This question can be a great opener for introverts as it focuses on a specific topic and can lead to a structured conversation about a shared interest.
  2. This is such a great venue for a networking event. Have you been here before?” – This question allows introverts to start a conversation based on observations about the environment, which can be less personal and, therefore, more comfortable for some introverts.
  3. “You guys seem to be having a good time. Do you mind if I joined you?” – This question allows introverts to join an existing conversation, which can be less daunting than starting a new one.
  4. “So, what do you do?” – While this may seem like a simple question, it’s a classic that allows introverts to steer the conversation towards the other person, giving them time to listen and think before responding.
  5. “Hi, are you a [the profession you think they are in]?” – This question allows introverts to start a conversation based on educated guesses or observations, leading to interesting discussions and less pressure to keep the conversation going.

Remember, being an introvert in a networking event can be a strength. Introverts are often good listeners and thoughtful conversationalists, qualities that can lead to meaningful and memorable conversations.

The Funny Stories

Humour can break the ice, put people at ease, and make you more memorable. It’s important to use humour appropriately and respectfully. Here are reliable conversation starters 21-25, with a touch of humour:

  1. “Did you attend last year’s event?” – If they say no, you can follow up with a light-hearted comment like, “Neither did I. We must have been at the cooler party.”
  2. “What are the three tips you would give an entrepreneur on business strategy?” – After their response, you could say, “Great expert advice! I was going to suggest coffee, coffee, and more coffee.”
  3. “Can I get you another drink?” – If they decline, you could say, “Good call. I heard the water here is stronger than the coffee.”
  4. “Hi, can I borrow your pen?” – After they respond, you could add, “I promise I won’t write you into my novel.”
  5. “I bet you are as excited about this event as I am.” – Depending on their response, you could follow up with a playful comment like, “I haven’t been this excited since I found out my favourite socks match.”

Remember, humour is subjective, so what one person finds funny, another might not. It’s important to gauge the other person’s response and adjust your approach accordingly. If they seem receptive to your humour, it can be a great way to establish an authentic connection and make your conversation more enjoyable.

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The Totally Random (But Just Might Work)

Sometimes, the most unexpected conversation starters can be the most effective. They can catch people off guard, spark curiosity, and lead interesting conversations. Here are conversation starters 26-30, all of which are a bit random but just might work:

  1. “Do you mind if I join you?” – This question, asked while they’re standing alone, can be a surprising but effective way to start a conversation.
  2. “I knew I would meet a loner like me in this place.” – This statement, said with a smile, can be a humorous and unexpected way to break the ice with someone standing alone.
  3. “I couldn’t help noticing your deep voice. Do you sing?” – This question is unexpected and can lead to a conversation about hobbies, interests, or hidden talents.
  4. “I can’t imagine having missed this networking event.” – This statement can be a surprising conversation starter, leading to a discussion about the event, networking, or the importance of these gatherings.
  5. “Hi, are you in [the department you work in]? I hope to meet a few fellow people [people working in that department].” This question, especially when you’re not in the same field, can be unexpected and lead to a conversation about their work, your work, and their differences and similarities.

Remember, confidence and a sense of humour are key to using these random conversation starters. They might be unexpected, but with the right delivery, they just might work.

How To Start A Conversation

Starting a conversation can be as simple as using one of the conversation starters we’ve discussed. However, here are a few additional tips to help you initiate a conversation effectively:

  1. Be Approachable: Smile, make eye contact, and maintain open body language. This signals to others that you’re friendly and open to conversation.
  2. Listen Actively: Show genuine interest in the other person’s responses. Nod, maintain eye contact, and provide feedback to show you’re engaged in the conversation.
  3. Ask Open-Ended Types of Questions: These require more than a yes or no answer and can lead to more interesting and meaningful conversations.
  4. Be Authentic: Be yourself and speak honestly. People appreciate authenticity and are more likely to engage in a genuine conversation.

How To Close A Conversation

Gracefully closing a conversation is just as important as starting one. Here are some tips on how to exit a conversation without seeming rude or abrupt:

  1. Wrap Up the Topic: Summarise your discussion to signal that the conversation ends.
  2. Express Gratitude: Thank the other person for their time and the conversation. This leaves a positive impression and ends the conversation on a high note.
  3. Provide a Reason: If appropriate, provide a reason for ending the conversation, such as needing to make a call, catch up with someone else, or attend to a task.
  4. Plan for Future Interaction: Suggest a future meeting or express hope to continue the conversation later. This gives a positive closure to the conversation and opens the door for future interactions.q

Remember, networking aims to make meaningful connections, so always aim to deliver conversation closers in a way that leaves a positive impression and opens the door for future interactions.


30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters

Networking is essential to professional growth, and having a repertoire of effective conversation starters can make the process much easier and more enjoyable. Whether you’re an introvert looking for ways to navigate networking events, or an extrovert looking to add more tools to your networking toolbox, these conversation starters can be a great help.

Remember, the key to successful networking is starting conversations, engaging in meaningful dialogue, listening actively, and making genuine connections.

Mobo Co. is not just a coworking space, and it’s a hub of innovation and collaboration where work and play intertwine. We curate a calendar with enriching events designed to inspire, motivate, and connect like-minded individuals. From engaging member events to invigorating fitness enhancement sessions, there’s always something happening at Mobo Co.

So, we encourage you to try these conversation starters at your next networking event. You might be surprised at how much of a difference a good conversation starter can make. Immerse yourself in a community that thrives on creativity and embraces the spirit of collaboration. Contact us today and join us at Mobo Co. Embark on a personal and professional growth journey amidst the buzz of South Bank’s finest offerings.