Walking into a big room full of strangers with name tags, you slowly make your way to the bar for a complimentary wine glass and stand there, staring out to see who seems friendly enough or who seems as scared to start a conversation as you. Sound familiar? Networking is a terrible word to describe the action of meeting like-minded individuals for the first time yet we all put ourselves out there in an effort to make a good first impression.
After many networking events, I’ve come to the conclusion that networking is nothing more than talking; weird, huh? The problem with networking is the outcome we are expecting: a new job, a new business partner, a new investor. Yet, if we shift the outcome to just get to know people who are most likely interested in your same interests, things become much simpler. We get to have real conversations with real people. No pretenses.
Are you ready to have real conversations next time you are “networking“?
Here are some questions to keep in your back pocket:
- How did you hear about this event?
- Where are you from?
- What book are you currently reading? or What’s on your reading list?
- What’s your favorite thing to do when not working?
- How did you decide to you what you do?
- What is one thing you think you can help others with?
- How can I be helpful to you right now?
One thing to remember is that people love talking about themselves. When networking, refrain from talking about you. Question #7, will trigger conversation around you and how you can help them.
- Memorize the questions above to keep conversation from dying off
- Answer and memorize the answers to questions above about yourself – You always want to be prepared.
- Ask for business card or email. Email them that same night and highlight something you liked about one of their stories.
With these 7 questions, you are ready to have real conversations with strangers when networking. *More questions via Entrepreneur
Check your local networking events and put them to practice!