Stacey & Michael talking

10 Networking Conversation Starters (That Aren’t “What do you do?”)

It’s a big part of my mission to get rid of the question, “So, what do you do?” as a conversation starter.


Because more often than not it creates tension and shuts a conversation DOWN.

If the person asking doesn’t understand what you do, care about what you do or have a need for what you do, they typically don’t get curious.

I’ve shared this viewpoint on several podcasts recently and the host always follows up with “So, what should we ask instead?”

Great question, glad they asked. That’s why I created this 1 pager (click THIS link, enter your email, get the download! You’ll also get my newsletter, Shed The Formality and can always unsubscribe.)

10 Conversation Started that Aren’t “So, what do you do?”

Is it a complete list? No. The only list? Of course not.

My hope is that it sparks something in you, so feel free to add your own conversation starter questions. Ones that provide more insight into who a person IS vs what they do. That’s a more fun and productive way to make a connection.

Oh, and for those of you thinking, “Great, Stacey, but what about people who still ask this question because they don’t get your newsletter?”

Again, great question and I’m glad you asked (I simply LOVE curious people). My answer is twofold:

  1. You have permission to answer their question in a more interesting way for you. Maybe you share what you’re excited about instead of what you do. See how it feels to take control over how you answer questions.
  2. Second, tell them about this newsletter, of course! New subscribers get a copy of these questions, too.

Human connection is impossible when we’re acting like robots. So #shedtheformality and dare to ask a different set of questions the next time you meet face-to-face. I promise to do the same.

Your turn to talk to me

  1. What’s a big part of your mission?
  2. What are YOUR favorite conversation starters?
  3. Have you started going to larger, in person events?

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About the blog

Humor, stories, and insights, delivered 2x per month, to perform without the pressure.

Topics include mental health, work, human connection, creativity and more.


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