Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Monday, May 30, 2011

Breaking the Ice at Networking Events

Sarah Michel, CSP, Guest Author

Recently a brilliant friend and colleague described to me how she felt attending a professional meeting where she didn’t know anyone sitting around her as being, “awkward and painful,” when she found herself at a loss for how to break the ice with someone she doesn’t know. Here was someone who has so much to offer anyone lucky enough to engage in conversation with her but her reluctance to initiate interaction caused her to avoid eye contact and retreat inward and miss out on the potential network relationships sitting around her. These are the people that keep me up at nights.

I have had a life-long fascination with people who have a natural preference for introversion and think that they’re really bad at breaking the ice and talking to people they don’t know. These people (you know who you are) also think their bad at networking which couldn’t be farther from the truth. In my experience, they may not work the room and come away with the most business cards but the few people they do meet they will make a meaningful connection with that actually has a high chance of continuing on after the first meeting. That is how you build a great network, one relationship at a time.

In today’s constantly changing, crazy busy world, your success will be determined by the breadth of people you know and how quickly you can get the information or resource you need to do your job faster, better or easier. The more people you meet who live in worlds you don’t even know about yet, the stronger your network will be.

No matter if you’re breaking the ice online or in person, how you phrase your first opening question to capture the attention of the receiver is critical because you have less than 15 seconds to do it. People are moving at warp speed and you simply won’t break through the million thoughts running through their mind or get them to stop and pay attention to you if you’re not compelling.

Perfecting Connecting book cover

Click book cover to order!

Here are ten proven ice breakers to help you break in and make out with anyone, anywhere, anytime:

• “This is my first time at a meeting like this, how about you?”
• “Tell me about yourself and how you spend most of your time?
• “What has been the best part of your week so far?”
• “What do you like doing when you’re not at work?”
• “What do you love about your profession?”
• “What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on in the past year?
• “What keeps you up at night, what’s your biggest challenge?”
• “What’s your number one customer’s biggest concern right now?”
• “Who do you most admire in your company and why?”
• “What do you wish your coworkers really knew about you?”

I hope these ice breakers will give you the confidence to start conversations that will lead to amazing connections and opportunities for you if you’re willing to give it a try.

The world is waiting to meet you!


Sarah Michel, CSP

Copyright © 2011 – Sarah Michel, CSP. Reprinted with permission. Sarah Michel, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) works with organizations to teach people how to make their net WORK! She is a professional speaker, author and trainer on the fine art of connecting. More info on Sarah can be found at her Website. Send e-mail to: or 719-576-2045.

netHQLarry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. –

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page:
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at:
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at:
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at:
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at:


1 Comment »

  1. […] BONUS Articles: When You Shake Hands. . . Really Shake Hands! Breaking the Ice at Networking Events […]

    Pingback by Mind Your Networking Manners « Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Wednesday, July 27, 2011 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at