A conference is a networking lollapalooza.

Oh sure, there’s the golf, the free buckets of shrimp and the shiatsu massages but you’re there for one reason only: the juicy contacts. In fact, experts say good contact management is the best way to survive the current economic crisis with style and zen-like calm.

You’re about to become a networking monster, able to strike up conversations with total strangers as if you spent the last 5 years as a Hollywood game show host. Our thanks to networking skills guru Debra Finefor the following icebreakers:

1. What do you find is the most enjoyable part of your job?

2. Can you bring me up to date on your latest project?

3. Tell me about your history with _____.

4. How did you come to find yourself in the _____ field?

5. How did you come up with that idea?

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Voila, ball rolling. To perfect your skillage, check out Debra’s specific advice for freelancers and consultants. She has a number of tricks for exiting a conversation and leaving a good, lasting impression. The kind that leads to future job offers and untold wealth. Go forth and network. But start at the buffet – you don’t want to miss the free buckets of shrimp.

Filed Under: Conference Attendees

About the Author: The Hound helps people find, research and connect with the conferences that enable them to grow their careers, enrich their professional lives and have fun while making the most of the conference-going experience.