Networking. There are few other more cringe-worthy words. But networking is something that is part of any career journey. Making connections and having people to lean on for references, connections and support is always an essential ingredient to any job. Just remember, although you can't avoid initiating a conversation, you can be innovative with networking. You can do it in any way that works for you - in person or even online. So why not do it in a way that is more fun? Here are 20 unique networking conversation starters that can get you out of the rut of continually asking, "What do you do?" in your next in-person or virtual networking event or meeting.

1.      How did you start your day today?

2.      Do you love or hate networking?

3.      What outcome would make you feel that this exchange was well worth your time?

4.      What are you energized about right now?

5.      Do you love your job?

6.      What is the best part about your job?

7.      What was the last thing that you read that you can't stop thinking about?

8.      Who is the person you most admire at this moment?

9.      Are you in the process of building any interesting habits?

10.  What habits are you trying to eliminate from your life?

11.  What was the worst advice you've ever gotten?

12.  What habits are you trying to build at this moment?

13.  How did you hear about this event or find me online?

14.  What's your best virtual networking tool?

15.  What are some of your business or personal goals for this quarter?

16.  What's your favorite part of this event or an event you have joined online?

17.  This is my first time visiting (insert venue or location). Do you have any recommendations for things to see or do?

18.  What's the biggest need in your line of work right now?

19.  Who is your ideal client?

20.  If you had to give a speech/presentation what would the topic be?