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How to Start & End Conversations at Networking Events

Don't miss Hustle Su​mmit on Friday, July 21st in NYC and on Thursday, September 27th in Chicago:

Starting and ending conversations at networking events can sometimes be, without a doubt, extremely awkward. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s nothing wrong in going into an event with some ideas up your sleeve.

If you think starting a conversation is hard, you're right. Because it is.

Here’s my favorite networking tip: be the closer.

No one likes ending a conversation regardless of whether or not it’s going well. If you take the initiative to end the conversation and move on, I guarantee the person you are talking to will be grateful. Do it before a conversation goes stale, or if it’s stale from the start.

Want to take it a step further? Don’t just close the conversation but take the person who you’re talking to over to someone else you’ve met during the night and make a new introduction. Of course, you shouldn’t just drop them off with no context. Start the introduction with what they have in common even – if it’s as small as what they majored in, where they went to school, or what neighborhood they live in.

Plus, if you’re able to make a good introduction at an event it also shows that you were listening.

Get the conversation started with these openers:

  • What brought you here tonight?

  • I love your (something they are wearing).

  • What did you think of the talk?

  • What (food/drink) are you getting? (While standing in line)

  • Hi, just wanted to say hi!

  • Are you in line?

  • So, are you a __________? (Hofstra alumni, tea enthusiast, whatever the event theme is)

  • I couldn’t help but overhear __________…

Make a clean exit with these closers:

  • You know what, I’d love to introduce you to someone else I met tonight.

  • I’m going to grab another (food/drink), fantastic to meet you.

  • I need to use the bathroom, but I’m sure I’ll see you around.

  • I’m going to say hi to a friend, it was awesome chatting.

  • I don’t want to take up all your time, it was great meeting you!

  • Well I’d love to stay in touch, can we trade cards?

  • I’m going to go mingle some more, but it was nice chatting.

Don't miss Hustle Su​mmit on Friday, July 21st in NYC and on Thursday, September 27th in Chicago:

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