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Questions to Avoid Being Tongue-Tied

One icebreaker at a networking event is simply to ask the other person what they do, the Nature Jobs blog says.

Networking as someone searching for a job — as someone who has "to sell yourself without seeming like that's your only motive to talk," as Nature Jobs puts it — is challenging. And asking someone what he or she does is a classic question that can direct the rest of the conversation.

There are other questions to ask, too, such as whether they enjoy it there as well as how they got there. "Learning about a person's professional history can be interesting in itself, but you're also learning about their network – just because they work for a company now that you're not interested in, doesn't mean they always worked there, and they'll still have contacts elsewhere," Nature Jobs notes.

You can also ask, it adds, what could be better about their job — that's where you can pitch yourself, if you're interested — and, as a closeout, ask who else you should talk to and if you can get in touch with them again.

"Of course, all of these talking points are no substitute for a genuine, honest conversation — it's more important to enjoy the talk you're having, concentrate on what the other person is telling you, and be entertaining in what you're telling them," Nature Jobs adds.