Communication experts agree that questions are a great way to build rapport and demonstrate interest in others while also gathering important information. Networking events are the perfect time to stretch your questioning skills. By asking a few thoughtful networking questions, you can learn a lot about the person in front of you, their field and their organization.
If you’re ever mingling with a group of professionals and find yourself at a loss for conversation, just ask one of the top 20 networking questions listed below.
“Getting to Know Them” Networking Questions
- What do you do?
- How long have you been doing it?
- How do you like it?
- How did you get involved in it?
- What kind of projects are you working on right now?
- What’s your favorite part of the job?
- What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
“Getting to Know Their Field” Networking Questions
- What kind of education/experience do you need to get into this field?
- What do you think the most important skills are for success in this field?
- What other networking groups or professional development activities do you participate in?
- What changes have you seen in your field in the past few years?
- Where do you see this field going in the future?
“Getting to Know Their Organization” Networking Questions
- How long have you been with your company?
- What’s the culture like?
- What makes your organization stand out amongst the competition?
- Where is your organization headed in the next few years?
- What are the biggest challenges facing your organization?
“Wrap Up” Networking Questions
- What’s next for you in your career?
- How can I help you meet your goals?
- Would you like to keep in touch?
Of course, asking the question is only part of the equation for successful networking. After that, you have to listen to the answer! Smile, nod and make eye contact to demonstrate your interest. Ask follow up questions to dig deeper—but remember that too many questions back-to-back can start to feel like an interrogation, so be sure to share your own experiences as well.
Making conversation while networking can be challenging. But, with the help of these networking questions, you’ll be a natural in no time.
Career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker