I Used Embarrassing Icebreakers at a Marketing Conference. You Should Too

I Used Embarrassing Icebreakers at a Marketing Conference. Making connections at a networking event is awkward. Since I love comedy, I also decided to turn my task into a game. To keep the self-promotion train moving, I wrote the same thing on Partyforce, an app where Dreamforce attendees could casually communicate. The conference Once I arrived at Dreamforce, it was time to start asking people questions in person. But I couldn’t rely on internet prompts for all of my networking. “I’m trying out a new conversation starter. Ideally, I should have gone straight into the would-you-rather without any introduction, but telling people that you’re writing an article about conversation starters is a great way to do exactly that. Starting thinking about networking before you get to the conference. Sure, you don’t have to ask if someone wants baby carrot arms, but having a strategy makes networking a little less intimidating.

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Making connections at a networking event is awkward. They’re so
forced, like bad blind dates. The internet understands; that’s why
there are almost 400,000 Google
results
for “conference icebreakers” with suggestions for how
to make a great first impression. But how can you know which
one-liners will actually spark an interesting, memorable
conversation?

I decided to find out. Last month, I went to Dreamforce,
an event—nay, extravaganza—hosted by Salesforce. There were 170,000
attendees,
hundreds of panels, and almost as many open bars. Since I was going
by myself to cover the conference and promote my freelance work, I
knew this was the perfect place to test my networking skills. Since
I love comedy, I also decided to turn my task into a game. Things
were about to get weird, in the most professional way possible.

Pre-conference

As someone who’s written about networking
before
, I know it’s important to make a digital
announcement—especially if you’re flying solo. So I posted this on
Twitter:

I was hoping to make my name recognizable within the conference
community, and also help others associate my name with business and
comedy.

To keep the self-promotion train moving, I wrote the same thing
on Partyforce,
an app where Dreamforce attendees could casually communicate. And
by casually, I mean Partyforce also let users rate their drinks,
post pictures of themselves dancing on tables, and find someone to
hook up with. Seriously.

marketing conference
marketing conference

Names and job titles omitted to protect the potentially
innocent.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if my posts would be received well.
After all, this was a business conference. What if I was being too
silly?

Thankfully, I soon had people following me on the app and
commenting on my posts.

The conference

Once I arrived at Dreamforce, it was time to start asking people
questions in person. At first, I was nervous. I was in a new town,
didn’t know anyone, and my blazer made me sweaty. Thankfully, some
people remembered my posts and brought up the icebreakers
themselves. Pro tip: The Hunger Games prompt was the most
popular. In fact, a really long conversation took…

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