How to Start Conversations at Networking Events | Episode 20 #SmallBusinessTips Series

Whether you’re networking online with FaceTime or Zoom, or offline face-to-face like the good old days, conversation with people you don’t know can get awkward.

Being more on the shy side in social situations, I’ve leaned on ideas like ‘FORM’ to help navigate my discomfort and actually start to enjoy networking.

The F.O.R.M. acronym stands for four different types of questions that you can ask people to help break the ice and keep conversation moving:

(F)amily – ask about their kids, spouses, parents and family history if appropriate. Most people are pretty proud of their family heritage and where they came from and love to talk about it.

(O)ccupation – asking them what they do for a living is pretty standard, but asking them things like: “What do you love about it, specifically?” Or, “What’s something that’s changed a lot in your industry recently?” (R)ecreation – ask them what they like to do for fun or in their spare time. Something else that I like to do is ask people what they wish they had more time to do for fun.

(M)essage or Mission – This has to do with someone’s life goals, ambitions or dreams. I typically only ask a ‘mission’ related question if I feel like I’ve established some level of trust and rapport in the conversation. If asked during the right time, this is a topic where you can connect more deeply with the other person.

‘FORM’ is not my acronym, and there are others you may have heard of that are essentially the same thing.

My question for you is, what are some tips that you have to keep the conversation flowing?

If you liked this video you’ll love Episode 19: How to Launch Your Small Business

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