Many people don’t know that before I was a networking queen, facilitator, and presenter, I was a wallflower shy introvert. I would have to take big deep breaths before my 30 second commercial… which would truly be about 10 seconds. I wasn’t good at building relationships. I wasn’t great at connecting with people. Completely a fish out of water. Until I learned that building relationships in business consisted of 3 things: Like, know, and trust. How do you get people to like, know, and trust you? Find commonality and add value.
Here are 5 questions I ask in every 1:1, every networking event, even in personal situations.
1) What do you do? I know what a realtor and a banker does but I want to know what they think they do. Their answer gives great insight into what they are passionate about.
2) Tell me about your family. One time I asked a woman in her mid thirties to tell me about her kids and her husband. Tears. She had never been married and never had kids. The only thing she ever wanted to do. Broke my heart! I never ask that question anymore. People will tell you about their dogs, sick parents, whatever.
3) What do you do for fun? Did you know there is a group of dancers who teach adults with disabilities how to ballroom dance? I didn’t either until I started asking this question. It’s fun to find out what your network does on their off time.
4) Where are you from? Finding out where people are from can be one of the easiest ways to find commonality. Where do they live? Are they from here originally?
5) What’s your story? What did they do before they went into their current position? What’s their story?
How to add value:
1) How can I help you? Simple. Ask this during any 1:1 and you will instantly add value. What are your challenges? Who can I connect you with? What do you need to reach your goals?
Start using these questions in any situation and you’ll rarely find yourself without something to say. Happy Networking!