Networking 101: Using Your Hobby as a Conversation Starter

Speaking confidently is a skill real estate brokers should develop. After all, the practice itself involves a lot of face-to-face communications – presenting listings, welcoming property seekers to open houses, negotiating prices with sellers, and more. While it’s good to master excellent communications with clients, it’s equally crucial to be a good conversationalist when you’re with fellow brokers. As much as you spend a lot of time training for client communications, you must never overlook networking communications. 

The first question professionals ask on the subject of networking is this: “what should I talk about?” Aside from work and trivial details, like the weather and traffic, what’s a good topic my colleagues and I can enjoy over drinks? Well, you can start with the very thing that interests you.

Here are some tips for using your hobbies as a conversation starter when networking:

Share Your Interests with Excitement

Yes, be passionate about it. Besides, these are the things you do for fun. Start with how you got into it in the first place. When did you first discover your love for this hobby? What’s in it that captured your interest? Who influenced you? 

If you think you’re not much of a hobby person, think again, because there’s a wide array of hobbies that go beyond working out, baking cookies, and traveling. Here are some that you may have already been interested in:

  • Social hobbies – wine tasting with friends, book club meetings, weekend food crawls with your family
  • Creative hobbies – painting, scrapbooking, photography
  • Collecting hobbies – collecting coins, vintage objects, comic books
  • Outdoor hobbies – backpacking, hiking, freediving
  • Sports hobbies – basketball, badminton, volleyball
  • Learning hobbies – reading, writing, learning a foreign language

When done right, this conversation starter can sustain your talk with colleagues, and you don’t have to worry about running out of things to talk about.

Keep It Short and Sweet

When sharing your interests, keep it brief and don’t hog the conversation. Return the questions mentioned above to your colleagues and let them share their own hobbies. Remember, this is a conversation, not a presentation or speech, so allow others to talk about their experiences. 

Be genuinely interested in what they do, instead of planning what you should say or ask next. If you’re really curious about their lives, the questions and stories will naturally follow. 

Talk About an Unforgettable Hobby Experience

Given the opportunity, share your most memorable hobby moments. It can be the time you got lost in one of your travel adventures or the time you met a celebrity while checking out an antique comic book store. These stories make for an interesting topic, and would likely encourage colleagues to share their own experiences.

Tie Your Passion to Your Profession

It doesn’t have to be profound. It may be as simple as the hobby giving you a breather from the pressures and stress of work. Or, it may have contributed to a better appreciation of work-life balance. Some hobbies can improve your knowledge of the real estate market. For example, if you’re an avid traveler, your visits to tourist hotspots may have exposed you to different cultures in communities, which can make your presentations on different real estate locations more insightful. 

Perhaps your hobby builds character and sharpens skills. It may have taught you patience, discipline, honesty, or strength. Perhaps it allowed you to listen better to people, adjust to different personalities, or improve your sense of humor. For sure, your colleagues will be a lot more interested in the hobbies you share when they see its relevance to your career. It may even encourage them to try it for themselves (you may actually gain a travel buddy after the networking event!)

Open the Invitation to Join You

If your colleagues express interest in trying your hobbies, the appropriate response is to invite them to join you sometime. Tell them when and how frequently you do these fun activities. Let them know if you have other peers joining you.

Then, after the networking activity, send a thank you message, just like how you would reach out to clients after an online presentation. Learning facilitators at the recent Lamudi Academy Live underscored the importance of writing thank you messages after online presentations, as it allows you to keep in touch with clients. The same principle applies to fellow brokers you want to build a relationship with.

Lamudi CEO Kenneth Stern has repeatedly highlighted in past Lamudi Link events the role of a broker community to career success. The connections you form are a legacy you can take pride in. That said, commit to seizing every opportunity to make lasting relationships with fellow brokers.

Again, it’s enough to be good at client communications. Be a master at networking as well. If you want to put these mentioned communication tips into practice, join the next Lamudi Link this month. 

Follow Lamudi’s announcements on Facebook and LinkedIn about the details of the next event. 

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