Flip these questions for a more productive conversation!

Is networking on your list of goals for 2016? Us too! Below is our strategy for ensuring networking is truly productive (aka no more enjoying a free beer and apps with your coworker). A simple flip to your most common questions can make a big difference! Oil on Linen

1. What do you do? >>> How do you help people? Change your language from dead-end questions to more interesting, open-ended conversation starters. In addition to learning about what someone does for a living, you always want to try and get a feel for their work style, ethics and personality.

2. What does your typical day look like >>> What did you do today? Who knows what this question could lead to! It’s okay if it strays from the professional world. Be open to learning about someone’s background, who they are connected to, the book they are reading or their favorite coffee shop!

3. Have you been to this event before? >>> Why did you come to this event today? The goal is to avoid generic questions therefore avoiding generic answers, turning a simple yes or no answer to, “I heard they were serving my favorite local beer” or “I’ve heard the speaker 13 times and he changed my life”.

4. How long have you been in business? >>> Why do you enjoy working in this industry? Or, what are the major challenges your industry faces? It’s a good idea to have a general knowledge of many different industries. It comes in handy when prospecting a new client when you can relate to their challenges.

5. Who is your ideal client? >>> Is there any way we can work together? Why not ask this question? There are many ways to work together from hiring services to referral partners to service trades.

Try to keep in mind while you’re networking that it’s not all about you. These networkers are easy to spot! Be genuine in desiring to get to know someone else. Chances are everyone you meet with knows someone else with your exact title. But if you connect with someone, this is what makes you memorable and (hopefully) will lead to future referrals and introductions.