Last week I wrote about starting conversations and the response that I got to my offer for conversation starting questions was overwhelming. Seems like a great topic for discussion, so I thought I’d share them with everyone this week.
When starting a conversation there are a few tips I’d like to share besides the questions, things everyone should know by now but it’s not a bad idea to be reminded from time to time. A firm handshake, a warm smile, and eye contact all make a great 1st impression and engage your audience immediately. The handshake connects you, the smile pulls them in, and the eyes keep their attention. (A breath mint doesn’t hurt either 🙂 Here are some great conversation starters for you. If you have any to share, please leave them in the comments section.
- What brings you here today? This will give you a sense of the value they place on the group and the individuals in it as well as the information they receive when there’s an educational component.
- What do you do? This always a great question because people like to talk about themselves. Be ready with the best follow-up question…
- Do you like what you do? It’s always good to know if someone likes their job or if business is booming. These are the kind of people you want to be able to offer business and referrals to. Their happiness reflects the caliber of work they will perform.
- How long have you been in your line of work? Increases their comfort with you and helps you better understand their knowledge base.
- Do you live locally? This will give you an idea if this person travels or likes to stay local. If they travel they may be a good connector for you if you are looking to do business outside our area. If they are local they may be able to give you an inside track to a customer/client connection you’ve been trying to make.
- How long have you been coming here? This will help you understand the dynamic of the group. If it is an older group and there’s a lot of turnover, it may be harder to make and keep connections. If there is a good mix of new and established members, there is growth and that’s always good for business. If it’s a new group, you may need to give it time.
- How do you like the food here? or How do you like the view? Talk about your surroundings., getting a feel for their taste in dining and architecture allows you to make suggestions or to find places you might both like or that you would recommend.
- What do you like to do in your spare time? This is a great question to help people drop their guard. You are basically asking them to share a piece of their heart, their personal side. If they are uncomfortable answering they will most likely change the subject. That’s okay, let them. At least you are having a conversation.
- Where do you like to vacation? This is a great question, especially when the weather is cold, damp, rainy, or snowing. When you help people dream they like having conversations with you and you become memorable.
- Have you always lived in this area? This gives you a sense of the person’s origins. If they have always lived here, they may have some really great insights they’d be willing to share. If they haven’t, they may have some really good stories to share about life and business elsewhere.
You could always try some off beat questions just for the fun of it. Try it, you might be surprised by the reactions you get.
- When you were little, what did you want to be?
- What’s your favorite color?
- If you could have any car in the world, what would you drive?
- If money were no object and you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
- Are you a Dunkin or Starbucks fan?
- If you had your choice would you prefer a hockey or football game?
- I promise not to hold your answer against you, are you an Eagles or Cowboys fan?
- Do you watch Dancing with the Stars or The Walking Dead?
- Where did you graduate from High School?
- If you could get on a plane and go anywhere you wanted to right now, where would you go?
Don’t stop here. These are just starter questions. Think about what their answers might be and come up with some follow-up questions as well. You just never know where these conversations will lead, but hopefully they will lead to some new and exciting collaborations. Be fully engaged with the person you are talking with, keep that eye contact and be sure to include other people in the conversation as they approach. Welcome them, ask them to introduce themselves, give them a brief update on your conversation and continue on.
Networking doesn’t have to be difficult. At 30 Second Success we offering coaching for individuals and groups as well as online courses that help you build your networking skills and begin to grow your business and build better connections. Schedule a call today.