Grab their attention with a cushion (not literally)
The thing about networking is that in order to get it right, you need to get off to a good start. You should never approach someone with a question. This is far too in your face and is never going to create the right impression.
It’s a much better idea to cushion the blow and be softer with your approach. A great way to initiate that conversation is the following:
"Hello, sorry to interrupt, but over the last few weeks I’ve been asking everyone I meet this one question”
It might sound a little corny, but we can promise it really works: it’s a question that’s hard to walk away from, it’ll build intrigue and that will get them interested in the rest of what you have to say.
So, where do you go from there?
Right, now you’ve captured their attention and piqued their interest, where do you go from there?
You’re going to need to think of a question that’s going to kick start some decent conversation between you and this person. You need to think about what information is going to prove most valuable to you as a business, as a professional, but is also relevant to your industry or the nature of the networking event. The last thing you should do is give them a question that’s essentially useless, or one that doesn’t really fit in with what you need to know.
Some great examples of the types of questions to ask include:
- What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from a mentor?
- What’s your definition of success?
- If you could learn any one new skill, what would it be?
- If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
- What’s the nicest thing someone has done for you at work?
Of course, the majority of these questions relate to work, but what if you want to ask something a little more fun, a little more personal? You can do this too and some of the best non-work related questions that you can ask include:
- What is one book that everyone should read?
- Tell me your favorite quote.
- What is your personal slogan or the words that you live by?
Having these questions in mind is a definite way to make sure that your business networking efforts are worthwhile.