Inside: Need a networking conversation script for your next career conversation? Use these lines and tips to make the conversation super helpful and less awkward!
Want to make networking less cringe? 😬
Yes, yes. I know I just tried to use the word “cringe” as an elder Millennial, but that’s actually part of the point! Read on.
Why Networking Matters in Your Career
Networking CAN feel really uncomfortable. You’re putting yourself out there, meeting strangers, trying to impress. It’s a lot.
It’s also super important because 80% of new jobs are found through networking and referrals. You read that right! And 70-80% are never even posted online!
That means if you are thinking about making a change in your career AND you’re a busy working mom or dad without a lot of extra time on your hands, you need to play the numbers game here and put in the time where the results are.
Try some of these strategies on for size to make it all feel a little, or a lot, easier!
4 Strategies to Make Networking Easier (Plus the Networking Conversation Script You Need)
1️⃣ Find SOMETHING in common before you reach out.
When identifying people you want to network with, look for folks you have something in common with as a jumping-off point.
✅ Both went to the same college? Go Eagles!
✅ Both have “Mom” in your headline? Amazing.
✅ Both worked in hospitality before switching to education? Cool!
Finding one common thread can really help break the ice as you reach out and within the conversation. In your outreach message on LinkedIn, try this:
Networking Conversation Script – The Outreach
“I came across your profile when researching ABC Company and noticed that we both went to Boston College and worked in the education sector. I’d love to learn more about your transition from education to healthcare. Would you be open to connecting?”
2️⃣ Be Authentically Nice
I’m not saying you pull a Regina George and compliment someone’s skirt when you REALLY don’t mean it. But I am saying some authentic flattery can help someone else feel comfortable and confident which goes a long way in making the conversation less weird.
Networking Conversation Script – The Intro
✅ “I’m so impressed with how you’ve transitioned from the classroom into ed-tech and would love to learn more about your path.”
✅ “I heard the podcast episode you were on recently and was really interested in your perspective on work-life integration.”
✅ “Loved your recent post on salary transparency. It really resonated with me because…”
3️⃣ Get Curious
When you lead with curiosity in networking conversations, you don’t actually have to talk that much! Hear me out.
Head into your networking conversation with 5 or 6 great questions you would like to ask the other person, along with plenty of wiggle room to let the conversation flow.
And I don’t mean asking “What’s the culture like here?” or “What’s your day-to-day job like?” SNOOOOOOOOZE. 💤
Try this instead.
Networking Conversation Script – The Questions
✅ Ask about specific projects they are working on that you read about in your research.
✅ Ask about challenges they are facing and ideas they have to overcome them.
✅ Ask how they’ve seen their company’s values play out internally.
Get curious, ask good questions, and then listen more than you talk.
Check out this list here of great networking/interview questions specifically for mid-career parents to help you find flexible and fulfilling work environments.
4️⃣ Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Remember when I tried to pull off “cringe” in that first line and you were all like, Becca, you are 37 – you can’t say “cringe”?
I don’t mind because I don’t take myself all that seriously. I take the work I do for clients seriously, for sure, but if I look a little silly along the way. That’s fine. Because you are going to forget I ever said “cringe” in about 3.2 seconds. You probably already forgot about it.
✅ It’s okay to laugh in these conversations. Welcome even!
✅ Perfect people just aren’t that relatable. NOT being perfect actually makes you easier to talk to.
✅ People are not thinking about you as much as you think they are thinking about you. So pull a Taylor and shake it off, my friend!
If you find yourself flubbing up your words or getting uncomfortable, go ahead and call it out. If you need, here’s a conversation script to wiggle your way out!
Networking Conversation Script – For When You’re Uncomfortable
“Thanks so much for opening up time for this conversation, I know talking with strangers can be really weird!”
“To be honest, I’m a little nervous! I’m really impressed by what you’ve done in your career and appreciate you taking the time.”
“I don’t know about you, but reaching out to people I don’t know is a bit outside of my comfort zone. This is super helpful though. Thank you!”
Ready, Set, Network!
Are you ready to keep rolling with your networking? You’ve got this and the work you’re doing here will absolutely make a difference.
Let’s keep helping each other here too!
What strategies have helped YOU make networking less awkward?