There is nothing worse than going to a networking event only to hear the same boring questions repeated time and again…”what do you do?” and the reply is always the same “oh, cool”…*facepalm*

It sucks and it makes networking suck.

I attended a great mixer put on by IABC the other week. I decided this time around I don’t want to know what any does. I didn’t care. All I wanted was engaging conversation. So I thought how could I create engagement?

I came up with 2 questions that I would ask everyone I met.

Q 1: What is the best piece of business advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

This stumped everyone. They were assuming I was going to ask them the same old boring stuff. So they were instantly disrupted. Their eyes lit up and they had to think for a moment. At that moment I knew I got their attention.

After they gave their response the conversation usually leads into, “why did you choose that?” or “That’s interesting, so what happened after you implemented it” or other questions. Naturally they would then ask me what mine was and I would respond.

As soon as the conversation got quiet I would bust into Q 2: What is the most compelling business book you have ever read and why was it so compelling?

Again, this question would stump people. You can see them thinking. From that very question I got into a great conversation with some people about books we love, our entrepreneurial journeys and more. It was a conversation that truly connected.

Of course at one point or another the dreaded question “what do you do?” got asked. Knowing this would be brought up I put a spin on my answer.

I opted to say “I help businesses make a great first impression and I help them make more money”. Then I would roll into the process of my work which would close into logo design and brand development. All the time I was speaking people were engaged.

A far cry from the usual awkward silence and same old boring dialogue.

Next time you are at a networking event, surprise them with something different. Steer away from the boring questions and usual banter. Go in the room with a plan. Have questions tailored to the audience that are not a-typical.

Your time spent at these events will be far more enjoyable.

Homework time!

Implement this strategy the next time you are networking and let me know how it goes.

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