Business Networking Events- Elusive Results Part 5 of 8

Part 4 challenged you to memorize your name. Basically really know yourself well. What is it about your talents, knowledge, connections, or job that you can offer in a given situation? If you have a good understanding of all things you then you will present well in the first few moments of any introduction.

Again, for those of you who might be new to my blog posts, everything you will read here is geared towards long-term results. If you are seeking a quick fix or a solution for something with a pending deadline, then this blog is probably not for you.

Prepare 2 to 3 Discovery Questions- Use These To ‘Listen’

This exercise is quite valuable as you get to know someone. People tend to tune us out when we engage with them in topics that mainly highlight our interests or achievements. However, you have their attention if you can get them to talk about themselves! We all love to talk about ourselves.

When you speak with someone for the first time, or two, much of what you may talk about may be due to a simple question and answer dialogue. So, in a way, much of any conversation will consist of discovery questions. I want to make a distinction between normal discovery questions we all deal in and discovery questions we strategically use as modes of listening and learning about someone else.

Possible Normal Discovery Questions
• What is your name?
• What company do you work for?
• How long have you been living in Phoenix?
• Do you belong to any civic organizations?

The above everyday type discovery questions are normal run-of-the-mill questions we typically engage anyone in. While these questions can serve as qualifying questions, they also tend to make up small talk and initial learning about each other. These questions are very important, but they are not typically the type of questions that create a situation where you can really learn about someone else.

Now let’s look at some questions that serve as deeper listening discovery questions.

Possible Learning Discovery Questions
• How did you end up working in medical sales?
• When you travel for business, do you have any particular routines, or places of interest you check out when in a new city?
• I heard you mention earlier that you lived in Brussels for a summer. I have always wanted to go there on a European vacation. What are some things you most liked about your time there?
• When did you first decide to spend part of your personal time serving on non-profit boards? What were some of your influences in this decision?

Does it matter what question I ask?
Yes! Ask questions that actually pertain to the person you are engaging with. But equally important, ask questions that you actually want to know the answer to as well.

Why do I need to really ‘know’ the other person anyway? Is this important?
As you learn more about someone else, you begin to find out how you can actually engage deeper and in more meaningful ways with them. How well you engage with them also affects how your relationship develops.

During a recent conversation with a new friend, I learned that he is serving on the board of a religious charter school. The mission of the school, as well as the religious affiliation, seemed to match up with the convictions of a good friend of mine, who is the CEO of a well-known community organization. Even though I had recently met this friend, I knew right away it would be good to introduce both individuals.

Will every conversation lead to an introduction like I mentioned above? No. It is highly possible that you may hold deep meaningful conversations with people, and you may learn quite a bit about them. Do not make the mistake of thinking every interaction has to spawn something beyond that.

You need to ask questions that have an interest to you, as well as the other person. The reason this is important is so they actually keep your attention. Have you ever been listening to someone tell you something, and then when they finish you literally have no clue what they just said? That’s because you tuned them out! By asking questions on topics that you actually are interested in, you are more likely to pay attention and remember what the other person actually said.

The take away from this blog post is to actually ask discovery questions that actually let you learn key things about the other person. Based on what you learn, you should be able to find meaningful ways to engage more fully with the other person that builds a deeper connection.

Always ask questions that allow the other person to talk about themselves. Then listen as they tell you about themselves. File this information away so you can pull it out later to find a connecting point with them in order to help build an authentic and deep relationship

Below is the list pending topics for this series.

Part 6: Plan on only speaking to 5 people- hold meaningful conversations

Part 7: Excuse yourself from shallow conversations- they are wasting your time

Part 8: Wrap-Up

Until our paths cross again,


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