Barry Moltz at Small Biz Trends has written some thoughtful ways to redirect yourself from making conversational missteps at networking events or business meetings with new prospective partners. Our favorite tip:

4. “How boring is this (speaker, event, job)?”

Complaining about anything and negativity in general absolutely ruins a first impression. Even if your statements are valid (and they are thinking the same thing), never start a relationship over a negative. Keep the tone positive.

Instead try: “What have you found most helpful in the (speaker’s presentation, the event, the job)?” Asking people to reflect on what they have just heard or experienced and how it will help their business gives insight.