6 Questions That Will Make You Stand Out At Networking Events
Networking events are tough for most of us. How do we walk into a room of strangers, make conversation and leave with a pocketful of solid connections in just a few hours? But here is a more interesting question – how do some people do precisely that?
If you have been to enough networking events, you would have seen one or two of these people. Perhaps you even know them by now. They are the ones who are enthusiastically greeted when they enter the room and who leave knowing more people than they did before they arrived.
Their secret? Knowing what questions will offer an insight into the other person’s life as a whole and give them an opportunity to find some common ground to make a deeper connection. woman with drive has picked six such questions that will win you more business friends and LinkedIn connections at future networking events!
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#1: Just out of curiosity, why do you attend networking events?
There is a good reason for those first four words. When you start a question with “just out of curiosity”, you spark the other person’s curiosity and hold their attention. The question itself is comfortable enough to get the conversation rolling and may even unearth mutual intentions or connections. It will also give you an insight into the real reason they are at the event, which could be something you could help them with.
#2: Can I introduce you to anyone?
Generosity will take you great distances especially if it is contributing to someone else’s career. Find out the person or the types of people they want to meet and if they are in your circle, make introductions either at the event or via email later. This will earn you not just a business connection but also a friend.
#3: What do you think about…?
Glance at the day’s news beforehand so you can bring up current events, especially those related to yours or your new contact’s industry. But strike a balance by also reading up on entertainment or pop culture news. Even asking for suggestions on holiday destinations could lead to an engaging discussion. These lighter topics will give you an insight into the other person’s interests, which could be similar to yours. Keith Ferrazzi, the author of Never Eat Alone, calls this “conversational currency”.
#4: How do you spend most of your time?
Believe it or not, there are many people who dislike being asked the standard, “What do you do?” as a conversation starter as it implies you are only interested in finding out if they are a benefit to your business. By reframing the question, you give the other person a choice of whether to talk about their work or not. There will come a point where the conversation is naturally steered towards both your jobs so be patient and wait for that right time.
#5: What is going well for you this year?
This question helps build rapport because you are inadvertently asking about their wins in business. It gives them a rare chance to talk about their positives rather than their challenges, and will make them feel good about themselves. Everyone likes sharing their successes!
#6: What is the biggest thing you are working on at the moment?
How the other person replies will give you an insight into their current commitments, priorities and challenges. Or even what is getting them excited. Observe both verbal and non-verbal cues. Again, you are building rapport by giving them a chance to talk about themselves. And you may even find that you are in a position to help or support them thus once again opening the door to a business partnership or friendship.
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