The 7 best questions to ask while networking

Most of us could probably think of a million things they’d rather be doing than struggling to make conversation with fellow strangers in suits, knowing the exchange of business cards is unlikely to result in further contact.

But maybe networking isn’t working for you because you aren’t asking the right questions. Get the most of each networking event with these seven questions…1. How did you get involved in…?

Always a great question to start with as it gets the person talking, and everyone loves to talk about themselves. You might get an insight into what they are passionate about, what interests them about their sector or company, giving you a way in to a more purposeful conversation.

2. What one thing would you do if you were guaranteed to succeed?

This thought provoking question is always an interesting one to get the conversation flowing. It’s also several questions in one – what’s your biggest problem? what’s your ambition? 

But just remember to laugh when you hear “rob a bank” for the 94th time.

3. What do you see as the coming trends for your sector/profession?

This will show the other person that their opinion matters to you and will enhance your knowledge of other industries, which can only be a positive takeaway from a networking event.

4. What would make someone the ideal candidate / sponsor / client / customer for your company?

The information you gain from this answer is priceless. It will allow you to give a person exactly what he or she wants, positioning yourself as a great asset to the person and their company.

5. Where do you recommend I go while I’m here?

This is an ideal question for people who travel or have relocated. You will gain greater insight from people if you understand their interests, and will even be able to use their pointers as conversation starters.

6. What are the major problems in your sector?

If you can find out the honest answer to this, you’re onto a winner. Either you can directly help them, or you will be able to refer them onto someone else who can.

7. How can I be helpful to you right now?

This question sums up the exact reason you at the event without any faffing around with small talk. If you can’t be of any use to them and their company, perhaps they can be of assistance to you which will in turn lead to more enjoyable and useful networking experiences.