Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Sunday, August 12, 2012

100 Alternatives To “So Whadda Ya Do?”

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking — Larry James @ 8:00 am
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Alexandra Franzen, Guest Author

Heading to a cocktail party, co-working space, tea at grandma’s Haus, (un)conference, world-shifting summit, networking event, or biz building immersion?

sowaddayadoChances are, you’re gonna be doing a fair amount of hustling, jamming & pro-active connecting. URLs will be flying. Business cards will be volleyed. You’ll wanna polish your pitch, and add a layer of high-gloss lacquer.

You’ll be curious about your new comrades, and hell’s bells — they’ll be curious about YOU.

But please. Good lord in heaven above. I beg of thee! Use “so whadda ya do?” sparingly. Just as a brain-tugging experiment: what would happen if it was your final question, instead of your first?

To kick off your next convo in supercharged style, revel in these non-sleazy networking prompts, inquisitive pressure-points, and relationship-tipping triggers.

When you lead with CURIOSITY — rather than convention — you’ll be STUNNED by the gems you unearth.

Larry’s NOTE: I’ve added this list mostly for grins! Smile and have fun with them. Don’t think I would use most of them during a networking event for fear that people might thing i’m a little strange. 😉

1. What’s the most potent compliment you ever received?

2. We’re talking ‘bout blog-crushes and Twitter-romances, over here. You got any secret Internet spouses? C’mon, spill it.

3. Do you have a lucky charm or self-love token that you keep close, at all times? I’ve got a heart-shaped rose quartz crystal, on a silver chain. Pretty literal, but it works for me. How ’bout you?

4. Who do you turn to for humble-pie, keep-it-real, tone-it-down reality-checks? Your momma? Your mentor? Your BFF?

5. What does money represent, for you? Independence? Luxury? Energy? Power? Possibility?

6. When have you been COMPLETELY wrong? How did you figure it out?

7. I never how how to behave when I come in contact with homeless folks, out on the street. Give ‘em a buck? Turn a blind eye? Donate directly to a shelter, and trust that the cash will flow to where it’s needed most? What’s your stance on street-peddling?

8. If life was like a musical, and you could have a specific theme song or anthem blasting every time you step into a room, what would it be? (Mine would be “Can’t Keep It In” by Cat Stevens.)

9. If you had to create a new job title — and the words that you currently use to describe yourself didn’t exist — what would you call yourself?

10. Do you have a worst-case scenario, screw-it-all, burn-every-bridge Plan Z? FYI: I ever go missing, you’ll find me pouring Guinness for fishermen in an pub on the Aran Isles.

11. Do you ever get performance anxiety, when you’re getting ready to pitch yourself, or jam with a super-elite client? What’s your bells-on, game-time, pre-show mantra?

12. When you need to give feedback or criticism to a colleague, what’s your approach? The ol’ compliment-critique-compliment “feedback sandwich”? Or just straight-shootin’ facts — all killer, no filler?

13. I’ve started using a Committed Impulse technique, where I say “I’M BACK!” — out loud — whenever I’m floating away from the present moment. How do you re-center yourself, when your mind is flickering in ten thousand directions?

14. If you were sending out invites for a fanciful afternoon tea party, who would you invite? Could be anyone — alive, dead, fictional, or cartoon-sketched.

15. I recently did the StrengthsFinder assessment, and I gotta say — I’m a little torn about the whole “personality profiling” thing. What’s your stance on talent assessments? Brilliant, bullshit, or somewhere in between?

16. If you could choose one super-power — mind-reading, time-traveling or limitless energy — what would you pick?

17. Have you ever fallen in love, at first sight? With a person? With an idea? With a vision? With a website?

18. Damn, this coffee is fantastic. The blend actually reminds me of a fabulous little mom ‘n pop cafe, back home. It’s my secret hideout, when I need to escape and buckle down with my laptop and a cranberry scone. Do you have a Fortress of Solitude, back on your home turf?

19. So, I’ve got this question percolating in my mind, and I’m asking everyone I meet. What’s your absolutely perfect day, from dawn till dusk?

20. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of info that’s being firehosed at us, today. Is there one nugget of brilliance that’s really resonating with you?

21. Damn! The minute this event is over, I’m totally gonna revamp my bio, strip down my service packages, and do a pricing mega-boost. What’s the first thing you’re going to do, when you get back to your workspace?

22. I’m one of those people who reads my horoscope every single day — pretending that it’s nonsense, but secretly DEVOTED to it. Are you a surreptitious star-charter, too?

23. I don’t know about you, but I literally can’t focus unless I have my indie-electro-rock mix blasting at full volume. Do you have a go-to playlist, for slamming deadlines?

24. You partnered up with a sweetheart, at the moment? How did you feel the very first time you laid eyes on him, or her?

25. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you strike me as a woman who knows her way around a lingerie shop. I’m dying for a new bra. Any recommendations, or favorite boutiques?

26. If you could take a pill and instantly know how to play any instrument, what would it be? (Autoharp, for me!)

27. Not to be too morbid, but I’m curious: what d’you want etched onto your hypothetical tombstone?

28. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up, when you were five? Fifteen? Twenty? What’s the connective strand, in terms of where you are now?

29. Be honest: what’s your opinion on emoticons? 😉

30. I’ve got a really ferocious suspicion that rollerskates and hotpants are gonna be IN like FLYNN, this autumn. What’s your fall fashion prediction?

31. When you catch yourself in the middle of a white lie, how do you pivot your message? Back-track and clarify? Just roll with it, to protect the listener?

32. So I’ve recently started a dream journal. Do you have any super-vivid dreams, that keep recurring?

33. How do you measure your own success? Do you set goals? Keep a set of metrics? Just gauge by how you feel?

34. True fact: I recently realized that I’m slightly ambidextrous. D’you have any hidden talents?

35. You look like a (wo)man of action. What’s your first-thing-in-the-morning routine?

36. Have you ever been so terrified, you could taste metal in your mouth?

37. Man, I’m really feeling the need to de-frag my mind for a few minutes. What’s your favorite mental vacation? I’ve got a lurid fascination with ’90s teen dramas, like My So-Called Life…how ’bout you?

38. When you hit your income target for the year, how are you gonna celebrate? Take your entire family to a B&B? Hit the spa with your long-distance pen-pal? Treat yourself to a Tarot card reading?

39. I have to tell you, I just love the way your voice sounds. Did you ever do any theater or radio?

40. Wanna play some word assocation? I’ll start.

41. Last week, I decided to remove all electronics from my bedroom, and I’m suddenly sleeping like a Queen. Have you made any micro-lifestyle-tweaks, that really shifted your world?

42. Dude, these kinds of events really bring out the hermit in me. Oh, you too? Wanna grab some coconut water, sequester ourselves in a dark corner, and talk about our favorite Lady Gaga tracks for five minutes? Excellent.

43. Have you ever read something so fucking brilliant, it made you sad, because you’d never get to read it again…for the first time?

44. I recently learned how to make a heart in my coffee foam. It’s all in the wrist, man. What’s your favorite super-mundane-but-totally-lovely little ritual?

45. What’s your opinion on facial hair? Be honest.

46. Jeez, you are seriously well put together. Who’s your ultimate style icon? And what goes through your mind, as you curate your outfits?

47. After today, I’m seriously thinking about doubling my hourly rate. I gotta admit — it terrifies me. How do you feel about your current price-point? You thinking about going double-or-nothing, too?

48. What’s the biggest epiphany you’ve had over the last year, in terms of attracting your ideal clients?

49. When you’re feeling scattered, how do you re-center and root into what needs to GET DONE, pronto?

50. Do you have any smutty, private treats? Once a month or so, when I’m tanking up my car, I always grab one of those horrendous, sticky, machine-brewed gas station coffee drinks. Y’know, flavored with pumpkin-spice-amaretto-midnight-delight creamer. And then I drink it, alone, in my car. What’s your we-must-never-speak-of-this-again pleasure?

51. Have you ever been so grateful for something, you felt like 40,000 thank you notes just wouldn’t cut it?

52. What makes you supremely jealous? And how d’you deal with comparison-envy?

53. It might be those cool specs you got on, but you strike me as a big reader. What’s the last book you read that really moved you?

54. Sometimes, when I’m feeling dislodged and disjointed, I have a little mental pow-wow with my fantasy mentor, Oscar Wilde. Do you have any fantasy advisers?

55. Have you ever been to a concert that shifted your entire slant on life?

56. Tell me something about yourself that I’ll NEVER see in your official bio, or on your resume.

57. Do you think of your clients as comrades, creative partners, customers, advocates, fans…or something else? How much high-contact, 1-on-1 time do you give ‘em?

58. How do you cope with unhappy clients? Are you a never-go-to-bed-angry type o’ gal, or a let-’em-fume-and-we’ll-unpack-it-all-tomorrow type of person?

59. Opt-in squeeze pages: yay or nay?

60. Where do you get your best ideas? I’m all about bubble bath epiphanies. Though hot-tubbing and long road trips work, too.

61. I’ve been thinking a lot about pro-actively clearing space for magic, in my life & my biz. What’s one thing you’re ready to delegate (or just destroy), like, NOW?

62. There are so many products & programs out there, and sometimes I have trouble filtering which ones I oughta dig into. What’s ONE investment you made, in your entrepreneurial empire, that truly paid off — in spades?

63. When you’ve connected with someone online, and you really wanna pull the relationship offline, what’s your non-scuzzy pick-up line?

64. What does “elegance” mean to you? How ’bout “efficiency”? “Enthusiasm”?

65. Have you ever asked someone you barely knew for a BIG favor? How did it land?

66. If you could have a mystical companion animal, like the witches in Ye Olden Days, what would yours be? (I’d totally go for a teacup-sized panda, or miniature fox.)

67. Have you ever experimented with raw food, ditching wheat flour & sugar, or veganism? What feels right, for your body? When do you feel magnetically vibrant?

68. How do you really feel about blogging — for serious? Love it? Loathe it? Does it feel like a creative outlet, or a marketing chore?

69. Do you tend to trust people immediately — until proven otherwise — or do they have to earn your faith?

70. I’m planning a mini media fast this summer. Have you ever dropped off-grid, for a week, or more? How did it feel?

71. If you could be an Olympic athlete, a champion ballroom dancer, or a Broadway singer with lungs of solid gold, what would you choose?

72. Are you an Inbox Zero kinda person, or do you let messages build up, and then crash through and delete / archive / file / forward / reply, in one fell swoop?

73. Have you ever met an idol or celebrity, and felt stupendously starstruck? Did you manage to eke out a meek “hello”?

74. I’m totally turned on by old-school snail mail thank you notes. What’s the classiest gift you’ve ever received, in the mail?

75. Are you a group mind-meld mastermind, or do collaborative projects make your skin crawl?

76. Do you believe that guilt is a wasted emotion? Or a lesson, trying to teach itself to you?

77. What’s the prickliest piece of feedback you’ve ever had to swallow?

78. Been thinking a lot about self-care, of late. If someone handed you $500 and said, “go nurture yourself,” what would you spend it on?

79. Do you believe that every relationship is an energetic transaction? Do you think it’s possible to transcend beyond transactions?

80. What’s a “brilliant” idea that you’ve had, for a project or business? One that you’ll never-ever actually do, but tickles your fancy, nonetheless?

81. How do you reel in your ramble, when you’re babbling outta control?

82. Is there a song, or poem, that ALWAYS makes you weep, without fail? (My tear-jerker is “Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen. ‘Specially when k.d. lang belts it out.)

83. If you were gonna send a time capsule to your future self, what would it say? What would it contain?

84. Do long, old-school sales pages make your eyes cross in disgust? Or are you a firm believer in heavy, info-loading conversion language?

85. What’s the absolute WORST business advice you’ve ever received? Did you sense the ridiculousness immediately, or did you have to learn by trial ‘n error?

86. A part of me wants to e-x-p-a-n-d my lil’ empire, with more minions and serfs and apprentices. And a (bigger) part of me wants to keep it clean & lean. A solo operation. What’s your take, on intelligent expansion? You got a master plan, for your universe?

87. Earlier this year, I was mashing into maximum bandwidth, and having a spacious day to play was tricky to come by. How do you make space for downtime, when you’re teetering on the edge of burnout?

88. I’ve been delegating my way to sanity, this year. What’s one thing you outsourced, that made a mega-impact in your quality of life? Laundry? Font formatting? PayPal invoicing?

89. I’m parched for fresh visual stimulation. What are your gotta-see design magazines, blogs and books?

90. I feel like I get hammered with pro bono requests all the live long day. How do you evaluate which freebie gigs to dive into, & which to pass on?

91. That last presentation on communication really got my brain cranking. Have you ever had an experience where your meaning was COMPLETELY misinterpreted?

92. If money, training, time, talent and the laws of physics were no object, what would you be doing, for a career?

93. Girls with guns & firing ranges: sexy, or terrifying?

94. What was your absolute WORST joe-job, ever? (Me? Cigarette salesgirl at a casino. Yep.)

95. What’s one thing you DON’T know, for sure?

96. If there was one band you could magically re-form & re-group for one last epic world tour, what would it be?

97. Your hair is absolutely incredible. Give me your styling regime, in ten seconds or less. GO.

98. Do you believe in “life balance,” or is striving for equilibrium a total buzzkill, for you?

99. What did your most agonizing break-up — romantic, platonic or vocational — teach you?

. . . and my personal, all-time favorite:

100. Who are you becoming?

AlexCopyright © 2012 – Alexandra Franzen. A promotional writer with a keen eye for words that woo, Alexandra pens webcopy for branding and marketing agencies like Red Slice and d.trio, wrangles communications for pro-bloggers and cranks out bios and pitch letters for quirky entrepreneurs. She’s been lauded as “Spock, but with a sense of humor. And better hair,” and was once pronounced “a unicorn, in human disguise.” You can find her blogging about style and savvy self-promotion at: Alex’s Blog. Also visit her Website!

netHQLarry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


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