How to Excel in Networking

7K0A0533Networking is easy, right? Hit a cocktail party, trade a few business cards, and you’re done. But were those interactions meaningful ones that will lead to new business? People who have difficulty breaking out of their shells sometimes have a tough time making connections. People who love to talk sometimes forget to make connections. But if you enter every networking event with a plan, you can come away from every interaction with some type of meaningful connection.

Inc. magazine recently published an article that listing seven questions you should be armed with at every networking meeting your attend. These questions will help you move beyond the weather talk or slow down your monologue to get to know others in the room. Here are some of the tips they recommend to excel in networking:

  1. What do you do for fun?
  2. What are you most passionate about?
  3. What’s your favorite cause or charity?
  4. What’s your guilty pleasure? (And why?)
  5. What in your life makes you the most proud?
  6. What’s on your bucket list?
  7. In case I can refer business to you, who is your perfect client or partner?

If you can work these questions into a conversation without the person on the receiving end feeling like they’re being interviewed, you’ll end up with the start of a relationship rather than just a business card. And it might take a few interactions, but you’ll eventually get to what the article says is the most important question in a business interaction:

What is the most important project or goal that you are working on, in case I or someone in my network can help you?

Listening to your contact’s answer and being able to help is the very essence of good customer service. And if you can do that, you’ll have a customer for life.

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