Networking Conversation-Starters by Jim Johnson

One of our main goals at First Fridays is to provide a forum for networking.  And it is happening!

For those who are new at this, networking is a great time to expand your relationship reach here in NE Indiana.  Many think networking is about landing a sale or finding people to push your business to.  While sales may result from networking and people may use your business more, if you make that your sole goal, you may up driving people away from you.

Looking at networking as building relationships.  As relationships grow, you and a person you are networking with will get a better understanding of your businesses, the types of customers you are looking to attract, etc.  I view networking as building connections where I can add value to others.

So, you find yourself in a networking meeting such as First Fridays.  How do you approach someone new and start up a conversation?

I’ve found or developed the following questions.  Use one or two of them the next time you are in a networking circumstance.  Really focus on learning about the other person.  They will share with you!


Networking Questions

  1. What does leadership look like at your company (how is it developed? Do you intentionally provide leadership training?


  1. What is 1 thing you are really excited about at your company right now?


  1. In the past 6 months, what great book have you read?


  1. What is a big challenge your company is facing right now?


  1. How does your company develop future leaders?


  1. What are you spending most of your time on right now?


  1. What’s the biggest thing you’re working on at the moment?


  1. What business problem does your company solve? What is a good example of how you are doing that?


  1. What’s the most unique aspect of what you do?


  1. Where else do you network?


  1. How do you feel about getting together next week for a coffee—it would be great to learn a bit more about your business and see if we can help each other?


  1. What type of clients does your business attract?


  1. What separates you and your company from the competition?


  1. What strategies have you found to be the most effective in promoting your business?


  1. What type of customers are you looking for? How will I recognize a good prospect for you? What are some specific situations are your targeted prospects experiencing?

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