Brian Hillard, Guest Author
Pop quiz time!
Question: At a networking event, how do you get a potential client to remember you from everyone else she’s met?
Answer: By standing out from the crowd.
Question: How can you stand out from the crowd at every networking event?
Answer: By asking the right questions.
So where else do you normally network?
This is one of my favorite questions when I first meet someone because it accomplishes two goals. Not only does it help break the ice during that sometimes awkward period just after you’ve introduced yourself, but it also gives you a chance to talk about something you both know a little bit about.
Another reason I like it is because it gives you the opportunity to make an “instant connection” with that other person. How? By providing valuable information they might not have had before. And as we all know, one of the keys to creating a solid business contact is to make a connection with that individual.
As an example of this, I was at a networking event one morning when I asked the gentleman I was speaking with where else he normally networked. He told me that as a matter of fact, he didn’t know of too many other places around town because he just moved to the area.
Well that was music to my ears, because as someone who’s lived in Atlanta for almost five years, I like to consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to local networking events. So I gave him the names of a couple of groups off the top of my head, and I mentioned that I would shoot him an e-mail when I thought of some more. You could almost see the relief in his eyes. He was genuinely grateful that I was helping him out with that information.
And that’s what I mean when I talk about creating a connection with someone, and developing a solid business contact. If that were you, would you remember me after that event? You bet!
What do you like best about what you do?
This is another good question I like to ask early in the conversation because it’s a little “fresher” than the old approach, “So what do you do?” Everyone’s been asked that one before, and the new question gives you another option for getting that same information.
One caveat though: About 40 percent of the time I ask this question, people turn it right around and ask me the same thing. So don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Oh I see. So what got you started in that direction?
This is a great question to ask during the latter stages of the conversation, and in my mind, really solidifies the exchange. Now you’re getting to know this person better because she’s providing some information that she probably hasn’t shared with very many people.
In other words, you’ve subtly moved the conversation from being strictly professional, to a more personal level. The end result will be a more engaging, thought-provoking discussion that will keep your name at the top of everyone’s list.
Copyright © 2013 – Brian Hillard – Reprinted with permission. Brian Hilliard is a motivational speaker, consultant, and author of the book, “Networking Like a Pro!” As founder of Atlanta based Agito Consulting, Brian specializes in providing individuals with actionable techniques they can use right away. Brian has also published a CD entitled, “How to Talk So Others Will Listen,” and he’s best known for delivering dynamic, thought-provoking sessions that keep people coming back. To learn more, please visit our website at www.AgitoConsulting.com.
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