Are you someone who dreads networking events?
Do you feel like you never get what you want out of them? Or worse, do you feel like they are a waste of time?
You are not alone! Networking is hard work, but with a little preparation, you can start having more meaningful conversations that can turn into leads and then into clients.
Instead of focusing on meeting your next client or gathering as many business cards as possible, focus on asking good questions that start a real conversation with whomever you meet.
“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.” – Bob Burg, Best-selling Author of Endless Referrals and The Go-Giver
Having an engaging conversation will help you get to know the person and their business. People can tell if you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. It all starts with asking good questions. This will help you identify various pain points that person has and will give you the opportunity to help solve their problem with your product or service.
Also, asking engaging questions will prompt the other person to ask you similar questions. The more genuine your interactions with others the more likely they are to help you. Maybe they do not need your services or product but I am willing to bet they know someone who does!
Before each networking event, brainstorm a handful of quality questions that will help you break the ice. Depending on what type of audience you think will be there will help you determine which questions will serve you best.
Below are some of my favorite open-ended questions to ask people at networking events:
- What is your story?
- How did you decide to do what you do?
- What career mistake taught you the best lesson?
- What is the best career advice you have been given?
- What do you think the future of your industry is?
- Where else do you usually network?
- How can I be helpful to you right now?
- Who else should I connect with?
- What do you do for inspiration?
- What is on your reading list?
Equipped with these engaging questions, you can feel more prepared to get out there and make some great connections at your next networking event.
Regardless if you land your next big client at the next networking event you attend, every person you meet can teach you something. Don’t waste any opportunity to grow your knowledge and learn something new!