Most of us understand the importance of attending networking events within our communities and industries. However, we’re usually left with a bad taste in our mouths at the thought of enduring a dry, awkward night having the same conversations over and over again.
This is because most of us, at one point in our careers, have fallen into the trap of believing that just attending the event will do the trick. But there is a secret ingredient that leads to success with networking: curiosity. At events, the great majority of us are racking our brains about how we can appear to be interesting. But, why not instead try to be genuinely interested? When you attend an event and you’re actually curious and open to listening to other people’s stories, it becomes a whole new game. And it’s enjoyable! We’ve rounded up five questions that spark meaningful conversations when networking:
1-How’s your day going? This one sounds too dull to put on this list, right? We think of it as a classic. It never hurts to ask someone how their day went. It gets them talking about their full day and not just the specific event. Doing this will give you a background on who they are and will lead to other conversations.
2-What do you enjoy most about your job? After finding out what someone does for a living, ask them what their favorite thing about their career is. What are the areas they are most passionate about? Asking this question gets people excited because it is in our nature to talk about ourselves. When the person is responding to this question, you should be listening carefully.
3-What are the areas you wish you could change in your field? Like the above question, this allows the person you are speaking with to open up to you. If you listen carefully, you can pick up on telling details about the person and develop a true connection.
4-Are you enjoying the food? Ask about the food. People tend to have this notion that they should always be formal and proper at networking events. But food is always a topic that people tend to have an opinion about. Often, this question will open up the door for a great story.
5-What do you like to do when you can escape from work? This is a humanizing question. We don’t all eat, breathe and sleep our jobs. Showing that you’re interested in what someone does outside of their career makes them realize that you’re interested in them on a human level and sets you apart from others in the crowd.
Author: Hager Eldaas