In my blog last week, I shared a unique way to look at face-to-face networking, especially if you are a bit introverted or on the shy side. The key is to think of networking as simply starting a conversation, that’s all. You’re not trying to make a sale, interest people in your idea, or land your dream job. Your only goal is to start a conversation.
But how can you reach out to people and engage them in a conversation that will help you determine if they are a good fit for you?
Well, here are five specific questions to help you get started. Five questions that can help you in any networking situation:
- Start a conversation with “Where are you from?” This can trigger a number of different responses. They could talk about the company they represent, where they grew up or where they currently live. It is a great start to a conversation because it can be answered in a number of different ways.
- When they tell you what they do, ask: “Describe your typical day to me.” So many times people use industry jargon and you have no idea what they are talking about. This is a simple way to understand what they do on a day-to-day basis.
- Instead of asking “What do you do?” ask “Where do you work?” It’s a simplier question to ask because people may be more comfortable talking about their company instead of themselves.
- “How did you come up with that idea?” This is especially good for people who are self-employed. There is usually a good story behind starting your own business.
- Find something in common that you can share with them in your opening conversation. For instance, “I see that you belong to the chamber. So do I.
These are just a few examples for getting a conversation started. Pick and choose the ones that work for you. Once you ask the question, your next goal is to LISTEN. Only in listening can you determine if this person is a good match for your service or product. Only by listening can you decide if you want to follow up with a second meeting.
I’m curious which question works best for you. Please don’t hesitate to let me know.