The best question to ask when networking

20th November 2012

Networking conversations can feel pretty uncomfortable.

Even worse, they often don’t generate information you can use. For instance:

A: What do you do?

B: I am an Accountant

A: Who do you work for?

B: X Partnership

A: How long have you been there?

B: Five years

A: And how’s business?

B: It’s OK. And you?

A: It’s OK

B: And what is it you do?

A: I am a Lawyer

B: And who do you work for…

… and so it continues.

A better approach is to focus on what the other person is looking to achieve in the future. Once you know this, you’re better able to see how you can help (either yourself, or by introducing them to others).

One very effective, future focused question is “so what are you responsible for?”

Their response will show you where their priorities lie. And, of course, once you know this, you can ask more probing questions. So, after the initial “What are you called? What do you do?”, here’s how the conversation might go now:

A: So, what are you responsible for?

B: Growing the practice

A: And how do you do that?

B: Mainly by networking and referrals

A: Is that why you’re here tonight?

B: Absolutely

A: So, who would be good contacts for you this evening?

Much more useful. It’s certainly better than when they list all the jobs they’ve had, or – even worse – all the products they now sell.

Action point

For your next networking conversation, drop this question in and see where it leads.

I know many people who’ve done this, and uncovered extremely useful insights they wouldn’t otherwise have found.

To receive Tuesday Tips, click here


Want more Tuesday Tips?

Every week, Andy releases a Tuesday Tip via email and his website, let’s take you back to the archive of tips.

Back to Tuesdays Tips