How to Network at Your First Business Event | Business English Conversation Lesson

In this lesson (1), immerse yourself in the dynamic world of corporate networking as we follow the engaging interaction between colleagues Michelle, Jen, and John during their first encounter at a work retreat.

Uncover valuable insights on breaking the ice, navigating small talk, and building connections in a professional setting.

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Picture this scenario – your company has organised an annual staff retreat for team building. Employees across divisions gather at a resort for a few days of meetings, workshops, activities…and of course social mixing! You walk into the welcome happy hour feeling excited but anxious about making small talk with colleagues you usually only know by email.

You wished there was a training manual for effortless ice breakers! Luckily, you spot a few other friendly-looking employees hovering just as awkwardly near the coffee table.

In this lesson, I’ll play out that experience of three co-workers – Michelle, Jen and John- breaking the ice to bond at such a corporate event. Pay attention to their questions, responses, tone, body language and pacing.


MICHELLE: “Hi, I’m Michelle. I’m from the marketing team.” (smiling)

JEN: Hi Michelle, I’m Jen from HR. Nice to meet you.” (extends her hand)

JOHN: “Hi, I’m John from the finance team.” (extends his hand to both)

MICHELLE: So, what do you think of the event so far?

JEN: “I think it’s great. I’m looking forward to the team-building activities tomorrow.” (takes a sip of coffee)

JOHN: “Yeah, me too. I heard they’re pretty fun.” (grinning)

MICHELLE: “Have you been to this resort before?”

JEN: “No, it’s my first time. It’s really nice though.” (looks around the venue)

JOHN: “I’ve been here once for a conference. The facilities are top-notch.” (nods in agreement)

MICHELLE: “So, what do you like to do outside of work, Michelle?”

JEN: “I love hiking and trying out new restaurants. How about you?” (leans forward with interest)

MICHELLE: “I’m a big fan of yoga and reading.” (smiles)

JOHN: “I’m into photography and playing the guitar.” (takes a bite of a pastry.) “Hey, did you hear about that new project the company is launching?”

MICHELLE: “Yeah, I heard about it. It sounds really exciting.” (nods enthusiastically)

JEN: “I’m looking forward to being involved in it.” (takes a note on her phone)

MICHELLE: “So, how long have you been with the company, John?

JOHN: “I just started last month. How about yourselves?”

JEN: “I’ve been here for about two years now.” (smiles proudly)

MICHELLE: “I’ve been with the company for five years.” (takes a deep breath)

JEN: “Well, it was great meeting you guys. I’m going to go grab another coffee.”

JOHN: “Yeah, it was nice talking to you both. I think I’ll join you for that coffee, Jen.”

MICHELLE: “I’ll come too.” (grabs her notebook and follows them)

To conclude – the three of them walk over to the coffee table together, continuing their conversation. 

They managed to break the ice. The great thing about these events is that everyone is in the same situation so its very likely that people are keen to make a connection.

The key point in this lesson I’d like to make in terms of socialising and its something that all of us tend to forget – It’s to be genuinely interested in the other person and ask questions to show that you’re listening. Overall, have covered a conversation between three colleagues from different departments.

We learned about introducing ourselves, discussing an event, sharing hobbies, talking about work and we learned that its important to keep a conversation flowing and ask open-ended questions to encourage dialogue.

If you liked this lesson, why not try the ‘Top 45 Basic Socialising Phrases to help the customer using Business English.’