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4 Icebreakers to Use at Your Next Business Networking Event

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We’ve all been there before. You’ve signed up for a business networking event, practiced your elevator pitch, brushed up on your communication skills, and walked in the door. But as soon as you see the group, you clam up.

Sometimes the hardest part about networking for business referrals is getting from the initial “hello” and a handshake to building a connection with someone. If you need a way to get the conversation going, try one of these four icebreakers at your next business networking event:

  • Bring up a recent news event.
  • Ask them about their hobbies and skills.
  • Give them a compliment.
  • When in doubt, try something unconventional.

Bring up a recent news event.

This icebreaker is really two for the price of one, especially if the news is about their line of work. Bringing up recent news about something in the industry or a hot business collaboration gets the conversation going and shows them you have your finger on the pulse of current events. Everyone loves to know what’s going on around them, and if you start the conversation, they’ll want to be a part of it.

Of course, it’s wise to steer clear of any news related to politics. A polarizing subject like that can make things awkward very quickly.

Ask them about their hobbies and skills.

This icebreaker almost always works for introverts. People love to talk about themselves, and they usually get excited when someone asks them about their skills or hobbies. Everyone talks about their company and line of work. But asking someone about their passion and hobbies can help you build a stronger connection with them.

Give them a compliment.

Giving someone a compliment might be the easiest way to break the ice and get the conversation started.

Take a moment to observe a person at the business networking event before you approach them. Find something unique and distinguishable to talk about, and then bring it up after you introduce yourself.

Once you’ve given someone a compliment, the conversation will have a good chance of going well. After all, who doesn’t love receiving compliments?

When in doubt, try something unconventional.

So far, this list has been pretty tame, and you may have already heard of these icebreakers before. They’re tried-and-true, but you might be looking for something that really makes you stand out from the crowd of other people at the business networking event. That’s when it’s time to ask an unconventional question. Here are a few outside-the-box questions you could ask:

  • What’s your guilty-pleasure song?
  • What are your top 5 favorite sandwiches?
  • When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?


You probably need to be fairly outgoing to try these unconventional questions out. But you’ll hear some really interesting things if you do. And they’ll be sure to remember you when the networking event is over.

Remember, most of the people at your business networking event feel the same way you do. They all want to break the ice and start a conversation, but they’re not sure how to do it. If you come in with an icebreaker of your own, you’ll make it easier for them. You’ll make a big splash at the event, and you’ll walk away with some new contacts.

Once you’re ready to break the ice and get the conversation started, find a local networking event near you and try out these icebreakers!

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