Question: What are some “go to” topics I can use to keep small talk going at networking events?
Answer: Don’t worry so much about having “go to” topics–If you keep the conversation focused on the person you are speaking to, it will continue to flow. People love to talk about themselves!
You can always start with, “How long have you been doing ____?” Let the conversation flow naturally from there.
You can continue to ask surface level questions depending on how the conversation is going: “How did you get started doing _____?” or “What is your favorite thing about what you do?”
If this person is a potential referral partner for you and you would like to get to know them better, invite them to meet you for coffee or schedule a time to speak by phone. Pull out your calendar and schedule the appointment right then!
If you are feeling this is not a good connection for you or like the conversation is done for now, one way to break away from the conversation is to say, “I see someone I need to touch base with. It was so nice to meet you. I look forward to chatting again another time!”