How to strike a conversation with unknown peers at a startup networking event?

What distinguishes humans from other living creatures is the faculty of speech. And what distinguishes more advanced people from their less advanced brothers is the art of conversation with unknown peers. Swami Vivekananda very rightly said, “Speech is the index of mind.” This is a cardinal truth so widely overlooked and more often than not, ignored. Human beings in general and Indians in particular are frightened of building rapport with one another. Lamentably, the concept of conversation in India- Governmental, business and other sectors simulates impersonal behavioral and alludes inhuman tendencies. Letters give the opinion that one robot is writing to another- neither a misconception, nor a myth. We have drifted from communication etiquette in our day-to-day lives.


In this age of vaunted technological advancement, we pay scant attention to the art of conversation- treating with disdain the nuances of articulation, intonation, accent and delivery. Despite the gift of speech, we speak and write incomprehensibly. To celebrate the gift of speech and to enhance the charms of English language specifically at a startup networking event, here are a few tips:

  • Begin with a topic of mutual interest. The topic of interest should never be an object of contention. However, it may be a diverse topic that may or may not be associated with business. For instance, whenever managers assemble at a business event, more often than not, they start discussing about global phenomena such as FDI, FII, pros and cons of hike in tax rates, RBI policies etc. At social events, people generally engage in a good humored raillery.
  • Don’t hesitate to probe open ended question. Many a time, open ended questions can be answered by exchanging pleasantries. Ensure that the vibes are right to engage in insightful conversation.


  • The next stage: Share your ideologies. Respect the perspectives of your peers. Discuss the strategies that made people go gaga over top notch organizations. In addition, one may go ahead and dig deeper to learn the art of agreeing to disagree. However, do not let your peers get completely flummoxed by probing out of the blue questions.
  • Wisdom in words and hero in deeds! Ensure that the conversation is in right vein. Discuss about Corporate Social Responsibility. It behooves humans to take care of our planet- mother Earth. Hence, one may proceed with the abstractions of green marketing and social marketing.
  • It’s my pleasure: A good beginning should always be complimented with a good ending. In business, no tendency is as strong as the desire to win and this is what drives every competitor’s quest to locate their final piece to complete the jigsaw of conversation. The pursuit of art of conversation has stirred visionaries to break the convention and embrace the innovation.

It is in the interest of accuracy, and to safeguard against danger of polluting corporate etiquette, let us strive to cultivate the habit of exorcising the ghosts of reticence by indulging in insightful conversations.

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