When you’re at a networking event, talk less about yourself and ask more questions of the people you meet. Your approach should be “what value can I bring” to others as opposed to “what can others do for me?” writes Jill Schiefelbein in her book Dynamic Communication. Asking questions will create a more lasting connection and likely lead to benefits for both parties.
In the end, Schiefelbein notes, your goal is to get a second handshake during an initial encounter. When you shake hands again at the end of a conversation, it signifies a true connection. So how do you get the conversation started to form a stronger connection and get that second handshake? Schiefelbein offers several suggestions for the type of business-oriented questions to ask:
- How did you get started in this industry?
- What’s your favorite type of client to work with?
- What’s the first thing you do when you sign a new contract?
- What’s something you’re most looking forward to doing with your business (or with your family) in the next year?
- What do you feel has been the secret to your success?
Source: “How to Improve Your Networking Skills,” Entrepreneur (April 5, 2017)