Networking tip: Icebreakers

It’s tough to start a conversation with someone you don’t know. Especially when you wander into a booth at OTC.

The weather isn’t a great starting point. Neither is the food — what can you say about dry sandwiches and overpriced sodas? You need a good opening line.

One career expert has a great suggestion. With all the huge rigs, engines and pumps jammed on the convention floor, it’s a natural: “Could you tell me about this piece of equipment?” suggested Vita Como, senior director of professional development for the Cullen College of Engineering Career Center at the University of Houston.

Or “what does it do?” she said.

And with that, you’re off and running. And without once having to chit-chat about Houston’s weather patterns.

Check FuelFix daily during OTC for more networking tips from L. M. Sixel, whose weekly Working column appears in the Houston Chronicle.