3 mistakes you might be making during networking

02 Jul 2019

Imagine this - you are in a large room full of executives and professionals in your industry.

You are excited to meet people and learn more about their work and company - but they don't seem keen to talk to you or the conversation has turned awkward.

Your intentions may be in the right place, but sometimes rethinking and framing your starting questions can be the first step to a good networking connection.

1. What work do you do?

This direct question is one we always ask when we meet someone new.

However, this may not be the best question to ask immediately as you don't want them to think their whole identity is based on their work.

Instead, ask them questions about themselves with "tell me about yourself".

Some questions can be - is this their first time to the event? Where are they from? What is their background in?

Also, after they answer, share your own experiences to build a bond.

This also gives them non-intrusive and open-ended questions for them to answer in whatever manner they prefer.

2. What fun plans do you have this weekend?

This is another question some people may not enjoy receiving as their answers might create an undesirable portrait of themselves or cause them to make up impressive responses.

Due to that, it might even make them feel self-conscious. Instead, try asking how they plan to spend their weekend.

By keeping this open and neutral, you get more chance to know the person and see how they feel about it through judging their reactions.

If they are meeting a friend but don't seem very excited, you can ask about it and offer suggestions to make it better with a nice restaurant recommendation or activity.

And if you meet them again, you can bring up the event and ask how it went. By remembering the incident, it can create a deeper connection.

3. Opinions

When we ask questions with "don't you think…", it can feel like a subtle attempt to get the person to agree with our thoughts.

Alternatively, you can try "what do you think". It shows that you are open to his/her ideas instead of pushing your own perspective.

In this manner, the person's thoughts are valued and respected, even if they differ from yours.

Main image from Pexels

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