Tired of hearing about the new house?  Well, good, because that’s not what this post is about.  (For the record, the move went smoothly, and we have awakened in our own bed in our new house three mornings in a row.  I guess that means we live here now.)

Last night I joined a phalanx of bloggers, PR professionals, Web developers, writers, tweeters, and Baltimore Sun staffers at the B&O Brasserie for the Sun Tweet Up.  I met several interesting people, got a few professional leads, and was never bored or annoyed.  So we’ll call it a successful event.

I’m struck that when meeting new people at a bar—no matter how Not Romantic your objectives—it helps to have a few pickup lines at your disposal.  I don’t mean the cheesy pickup lines that no intelligent human being would ever utter in earnest.  But you need a conversation starter—an excuse to engage with the complete stranger next to you—because attending a networking event and not speaking to another soul would be pointless.  And when you don’t know a single soul in the room, it can be hard to get the conversation started without some canned question to which you can just add beer (or champagne) and mix.  A few good conversation starters:

  • What brings you here?  Are you a journalist?
  • That dress looks so comfortable and flattering.  I think I need to get one.
  • Is that the latest iPhone/iPad/EarPod?  How do you like it?
  • How do you pronounce your name?
  • You look remarkably familiar; do we know each other? (We didn’t, but after chatting a while, it seems likely I had seen Justin at Life of Reilly.)
  • Hi, I think you’re one of our followers.  (I loved this one because I totally was not a follower of Gutter Magazine, but I am now.)

In all, it was a fun event, and I’m glad I went.  I wish I had run into the folks I know through Twitter who were there and introduced myself.  And I wish I had taken pictures.  Those will be my priorities next year.

How do you start conversations when attending an event where you don’t know anyone?

Since I forgot to take pictures of the Sun Tweet Up, I will leave you with a picture of a dude who put his Conversation Starting skillz to use on me way back when the first Android phone came out.


Dude just wanted to show off his new Android

He saw me fiddling with my iPhone and asked me to take a picture of him.  Then he took a picture of me with his Android, and compared the two.  Leaving me with this legacy of his photo.  Thanks, Dude.