After attending the IP Inclusive Women in IP panel event last night on flexible working (which was a fantastic event), and the associated networking, it brought to mind a NY Times article I recently heard mentioned on a podcast I listen to regularly, and subsequently read. Whilst the article is directed toward conversations at parties, I think it is equally relevant when considering networking events - in particular it’s good to bring to mind the headline of the article “Be genuine. Be interested. And stop hogging the conversation.” As someone who tends towards talking more when nervous, it serves me well to remember these points.
I’m also interested in the point made in the article that whereas asking what you do is a common and acceptable question in America, it is considered banal in Europe - personally I don’t find it so, indeed as someone who is proud of what she does I am happy to answer, and am genuinely interested to find out what others do.
This topic also led me to research a little further - and in doing so I found this article - https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/networking-conversation-starters-never-fail/ - which suggests some interesting conversation starters/deepeners for when at a networking event. I hope you also find it useful.
Know the three tiers of conversationsTier one is safe territory: sports, the weather, pop culture, local celebrities and any immediate shared experience. Tier two is potentially controversial: religion, politics, dating and love lives. “Test the waters, and back away if they’re not interested,” one expert told Jen. Tier three includes the most intimate topics: family, finance, health and work life. “Some people love to talk about what they do and their kids, but don’t ask a probing question until the door has been opened,” said Daniel Post Senning, an etiquette expert and the great-great-grandson of Emily Post.