October 25, 2014

The Unexpected Benefits of Chit Chat for Business Networking

business chit chat

Do you avoid talking to people in business settings? Do you dread receptions, banquets, and other business related social events? Do you struggle to make meaningful, long term connections at work?

You’re not alone.

Many of us are apprehensive about these situations, because most of us either hate entering rooms where we don’t know anyone or hate spending time with people we don’t know well. With a little insight, practice and use of some helpful tips, you can be chit chatting at the water cooler, or your next networking event effortlessly.

Business Chit Chat Networking

Networking can be scary, hard and nerve wracking. But, it can also be fun, beneficial and yield amazing results. It’s all in the mindset going into the experience, regardless of your personality type.

Networking for business should be thoughtful, purposeful, strategic and tactical. If you are just going out to events to gather cards and then spam people, please stay home, save some trees and know that it doesn’t work.

Make sure you are attending events where the right people are gathering that relate to or represent your business goals and values and go with an open, adventurous attitude. We have all met key people at events we didn’t want to go to that turned into great resources and connections.

Here’s what I see master networkers do:

  • They master small talk or business chit chat to open conversations and establish commonality.
  • They show interest in others first.
  • They know how to keep a conversation going.
  • They know when to exit respectfully.
  • They use appropriate humor.
  • They follow up, even to say thank you.
  • They are informed about current events and topical things.
  • They never talk politics, religion or sexuality.

Meeting the right people, making quality connections and growing relationships is an art. Not everyone is good at or comfortable with meeting new people they don’t know. So being able to open conversations with business chit chat is a very good skill to develop.

Business Chit Chat Ice Breaker Questions

“Bring me up to date on your latest project.”

“What do you find to be the most enjoyable aspect of your job?”

“Tell me about your history with ________.”

“How long have you been a member of this group”?

Top Chit Chat Things You Can Talk About

The weather, hobbies, pets, travel, books, food, music, entertainment, sports, fun activities and movies.

We know networking builds strong communities of customers, mentors, advocates, cheerleaders and allies, as a valuable support system.  We don’t succeed alone. We succeed together. So having an active network makes the journey easier and more enjoyable.

Great networks are built not by amassing numbers of anyone, but about deepening connections with the right people. Master networkers find the commonality, uncover the synergy, join forces and make things happen. They work every day at making real relationships happen with a patient persistence.

Meeting great people can happen just about anywhere. Look beyond only professional settings to personal, social, community and random settings. Practice networking and developing your business chit chat skills.

Relationships will accelerate with people when you take the time to get more personal in your networking interactions and own and focus your time with people you meet – even if it’s 5 minutes.

It starts with opening the door with some fun chit chat, which can and does lead to many unexpected relationships and benefits.

So. . .what’s your favorite food?

Networking Photo via Shutterstock

9 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

9 Reactions

  1. The 3 chit chat topics that work best for me are sports, pets and music-entertainment. What about you?

  2. Chitchat makes it less formal to network. It will also make the person feel that you are authentically interested in them as a person and not only in what they have to offer. This gives birth to real relationships and that is what networking should be about.

    • Exactly Aira, Making a human connection which establishes some commonality allow the rest to happen. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Business networking is usually what you make of it. Of course you want to be able to sell yourself and your business but that can be quite boring. Finding something you have on common with someone is much more fun.

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