10 Ideas for Questions to Ask During Networking

Networking Is NOT About Exchanging Business Cards

Networking is all about meeting people and building meaningful relationships. The one thing that will spark any relationship is… being curious.

Being curious means you ask questions to discover their motivations, who they are, and how you can deepen your mutual connection. The more curious you are while networking, the easier it will be to establish a meaningful relationship.

To help you spark a meaningful conversation here are my top 10 meaningful, purposeful, strategic networking questions:

1. What is Your Reason for Being Here Today?

Their answer gives you the real reason they are in the event and will lead you easily into the next question to ask them. It might bring up commonalities and even potential opportunities.

2. What Do You Enjoy Most About What You Do?

You might find you both have a mutual interest in something! Remember, the goal of these questions is to find common ground you can build a relationship on, and understanding your networking partner’s situation is key.

3. What Changes Have You Seen in Your Industry/Profession?

This question allows them to show their expertise. You’ll make them feel important, and in turn, they’ll look at you as more than just another unmemorable networker.

4. What Do You Wish Someone Would Have Told You Earlier?

This is a great question to someone who is more senior than you are. It gives them the opportunity to share the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years, and feel good about themselves.

5. What’s The Most Important Thing to You About What You Do?

Their answer to this question will give you a strong clue how you can develop a relationship with them.

6. What’s Going Well for You This Year?

This helps build rapport. To get someone excited about you, encourage them to talk about themselves and their own accomplishments first.

7. What’s the Biggest Thing You’re Working on Right Now?

Their answer will tell you what they’re busy with and where they might be frustrated or challenged – this information is useful for follow up and might even uncover an opportunity for your services.

8. What’s the Biggest Challenge in Your Business?

Use this question towards the end of your conversation, not early in the conversation. It can reveal so much about a person’s business and their current needs. It’s NOT about you saying “oh yeah, I can help you with that”. It is about having information for following up. And even if you can’t help, you might know someone else who can.

9. Who at This Event Would You Most Like to Meet?

Maybe you can introduce the person to someone or several some-ones you know in the room. When you introduce two people to each other, and they’re happy with the connection – you have two people grateful to you.

10. What’s the Best Way for Me to Follow Up With You?

Asking this question is the only way to ensure you’ll be able to follow up with new contacts; it keeps you in the driver’s seat.

Now It’s YOUR Turn

For five minutes… come up with as many ideas as you can… what meaningful questions you could ask in the next networking opportunity you get?

Let's Brainstorm

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Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta

Let's Brainstorm

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Days
00:
Hrs
00:
Mins
00
Secs
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00:00:00:00

Please share your ideas (all of them or just one) in the comment box below… and let’s get WOWing.

Live fully, stay awesome,

Nisandeh Neta

  1. Your questions are excellent on the work front. I would also find common ground on a personal level.

    1. What ways have you found to balance your work/personal life?

    2. Does entrepreneurship run in your family ?

  2. 1 What do you help people with?
    2 What is the biggest problem of your clients?
    3 Can you decribe your customers?
    4 How will your business change in the future?
    5 Where do you want to take your business in the coming years
    6 What challanges do you need to tackle to achieve that?
    7 Why do you do your business?

  3. I know that the idea generater is about "What to ask'
    But what if you did all that. Pracisted. Got ovations from my pitch, but then realize that it is a waste of time and money?
    If you know where you can find your clients or suppliers, all those question will not work.

    So my comments will be about WHERE to GO!
    Then if you know where to go, you can use the great questions that are mentioned by Nisandeh and others.

    WHERE TO CONNECT IN MY FIELD?
    CLIENTS: I get great connections trough my clients. I even connect my clients to people that can help them.

    TRAININGS: In trainings people are in the educational mood. They are really interested in what I am doing.
    There is immediately a common ground. Even business trainings

    MASTERCLASSES IN MY OWN FIELD:
    One of the best way to connect is to go to masterclasses or events in my own field. For example: I learned that children with
    certain learning preferences could have difficulty with their eyes. A specialist opticien can help with that. So I connected
    with such an opticien. We are working together since that they.

    SUPPLIERS:
    In my case I have a great connection with ALL my suppliers:
    From studybooks (handleidingen) to total methodes. I got great discounts from them. And I get even some sponsoring. Because
    I also bring them clients. We have great ZOOM meetings once in a while and exchange Idea's.

    HOLIDAY:
    Strangely enough I also like to connect on holiday. We love cruising. It is relaxing and we meet a lot of people.
    I love meeting new people. And I love sharing passions with other cruisemembers.
    I connected someone to a business mentor.
    Although I do not like businesscards, I bring some for that occasion.

    BUSINESS NETWORKING?
    Yes of course I join them sometimes. I like meetings with entrepreneurs. Sometimes there is a member from the gemeente.
    I just invited tot mayor to our local coffee hour

    KOFFIE MEETINGS ORGANISED BY MY OFFICE BUILDING
    Here it is great to meet. I know there are many people that I can share valuable connections or information with.

  4. The suggestions a great to read. Many new ideas.
    I would check if I know anybody beforehand and look them up on google or LinkedIn to get some relevant information so I can ask the right questions. Or get to now some personal things so I can ask that.

  5. The moment you attend a networking event, and preferably one where your potential target group is located, it is important that you get the most out of such an afternoon or evening and that you go there well prepared. What are you bringing and what are you getting?

    Say, "Hi, we don't know each other yet," "Are you a member of this networking club or group?" or "Have you heard this speaker before? Don't say, "Pff....it's hot isn't it today?" or "Gee did you watch x series on TV yesterday? The time you put into networking is precious, don't waste it on small talk about the weather and TV shows.

    It is fine to address a stranger during a meeting with a very simple opening. Then introduce yourself by telling what your name is and how you help your target group. Also, ask who the other person is and who they help.

    I heartily offer some more suggestions for questions you can ask after a networking meeting. After all, the follow-up is also rather important.

    Cold calling after a network meeting

    First, start with one of the opening sentences as I described above for a cold call to a prospect, followed by: 'I would like to exchange ideas with you about how we can help each other get more business.'

    Don't say, 'I was wondering if you could recommend me to some clients or contacts' or 'I'd like to talk about a very special business opportunity, or 'I need your expertise on the following subject for a moment.'

    Warm calling following a networking meeting

    Say: 'We met at (refer here to the network meeting in question)' or 'Marieke Jansen introduced us to each other, followed by: 'I would like to get to know you a little better. Maybe we can help each other.'

    And some more examples of good questions you can ask during a networking meeting:

    1. What pain are you solving for whom? (You'll find that for many entrepreneurs this is a difficult question to answer).
    2. What can you tell me about your target audience?
    3. In what way can I introduce you to my network?
    4. If I would like to recommend you, how can I best do that?
    5. What will you bring to this meeting?
    6. What do you come to get at this meeting?
    7. Shall we connect on LinkedIn in advance?
    8. What is your biggest success in your business so far?
    9. What do you need to achieve your goals for this year?
    10. If you want to take one more step out of your comfort zone this week, what will you do?

  6. I like networking.
    Good tips have already been mentioned here.
    For me it is also important not only to ask but also to listen carefully. Do you really have a connection? If not, don't waste your time and energy on anyone.

  7. What experiences does someone have in collaborating with other entrepreneurs.
    Why someone chose entrepreneurship instead of working for an employer.
    What one understands by being successful.
    As a result, his company has grown the fastest.
    Who are his examples in life.
    What his best networking meeting ever was and why.

  8. 1. I committed to challenge myself, that's why I'm here.
    2. I love everything I do, which makes it difficult sometimes to choose. Or loose focus!
    Making clients happy, makes me happy. And you want to make as many clients happy.
    3. I've seen collegues quit their jobs since Corona stopped many opportunities.
    4. personal growth. More important than bussiniss growth. You want to make the world a little better, become better yourself (Jim Rohn)
    5. Be independant, be creative!
    6. personal devellopment, growth! More positiveness, attracts more positiveness. I can more easily let go of stress and negative people.
    Things seem to come my way.... don't have to push too hard. Not worrying anymore.
    7. Work/life balance
    8. Biggest challenge. To do all the things I like, focus on the dreams/ end results, and manage time.
    9. Like to meet positive thinking people, that like have fun. That could be serious and relate situations.
    10. Most people I work with are passengers. They come and go and that is good enough for me.
    They want more? They get more

    The link for Gravatar is sending me to wordpress constantly. Changing mailadresses don't work. I tried to reset usernames and passwords but I don't end up on a Gravatar website.

  9. Great things you all mention. thanks to you all for this input.

    so is there more to ask?
    * what is it you hope to get out of this meeting?
    * What is on your mind (on ...subject)?
    * What would help you?
    * What, Why, How, When questions

  10. Great Tineke, especially the ways how to reconnect with people who experienced your qualities. They may turn into ambassadors for your business!

  11. If you are going to a networking event and you know who's attending, you can prepare by doing some research about the other person. Some networking organisations will send a list of attendees, so you can check out their website, LinkedIn profile or other info.

    It also means you can connect on LinkedIn beforehand so you have a more warm contact already.

  12. Interesting topic.

    I am always trying to "connect". Looking for similarities, shared background, people we know in common. A few simple questions I use;

    👉 What do you do exactly? Very often this easy question makes the person start to talk.
    👉 What are your current priorities? This reveals whether there are any relevant topics where I can add value.
    👉 As a Revenue Coach I feel also permitted to directly ask questions about the business. Usually people share some difficulties and challenges straight away and I am able to share some insights or practices form my side. My biggest aim is to create trust and likability at this stage.
    👉 When I believe it's appropriate and relevant; "Do you appreciate a follow up call or meeting?"

  13. What I do, I bring someone who could greatly benefit others. I'm the one who brings new value to the group. It's good for my plus one, and for me who always brings in interesting people.

    1. That's a great example of creating a Win-Win-Win situation, just by bringing some one that you know and trust to a space that you know they will get alot a value! Thanks @Naomi! I will definitly remember to ask YOU to join me on a Networking Event 🙂

  14. Hi all,

    In fact it would be great if I had these insights before. I have quite a lot of LinkedIn connections and a little less Facebook connections.
    But the connections do not go really 'in depth'. My motivation of asking for a connection or answering a connection request is mostly based on the mutual friends that we share. Maybe not a bad motivation but it would have been wise to follow up and find out more about the value of being connected.

    Some things I can now start with:

    - I have a list of persons that liked my business page. From this list I can ask people in person what they expect from my material, offer them a free e-book in which I explain my vision on education, or find out that they just liked the page because they liked me. From that we can connect on any social media, but now with this as background.
    - Make separate groups for my business: (potential) clients, friends, start-group with friends and colleagues to spar with, persons that are interested or interesting,
    - I do not aim anymore at e-mail lists of hundreds or even thousands of addresses because I cannot stay in touch with that many people.
    - Instead I want to build contacts with persons that attended one of my workshops, and give them presents that I think they will be helpful.

    -

    1. Great insights @Tineke! It is never too late to Re-connect with your LinkedIn connections, isn't it?

      Btw: May I be Blunt with you? And get personal with you?

      As I read some Mind-PIEPS and maybe I can help you, transform them into great Idea's and Habits... Especially when it comes to your LinkedIn connections and your Mailinglist 🙂

      So please let me know if you would appriciate my feedback and Advice to you 🙂 (And if not: Please do keep on sharing your great tips with us here!)

    2. Regarding reconnecting.... I had for 7 years different businesses that were not focused on corporates. Now I am starting something for it, and I connected with them again in the past month. Some of them I hadn't talked with in almost 20!!! years. Yep, I am also getting older. But what I discovered? It really didn't make a difference. in fact, they loved it. 🙂 But i needed the time to reconnect and really be interested.

  15. # what are you most proud of?
    # which lesson Will you never forget?
    # what was your biggest mistake and how did you deal with that?
    # If you could start your business again (back in time), would you do it the same, and why (not)?
    # as I mentioned in an earlier post, in fact any question will do. Trigger them. And they will start talking. Also have an 'active listening mode' ...Any following questions will then pop up easily.

    1. Once again: Great contribution @Frans! I learn a lot from you.

      Totally agreeing with your last tip @Frans, people love to talk about themselves and now they have someone who is actually interested in them and listens... Great tip!

  16. Challenging: my target audience is parents with kids with a learning challenge. If yes, we have a common ground as I have 2 sons who are dyslexic. In a networking event I would ask them more about their private life. When having a child with a challenge:
    What help do they get right now?
    Is it positively contributing to their challenge?
    Do you think you can draw out all the potential of your child?
    How much time is it costing you to support your child with schooling?

    1. Great tips again, Dunja. please do consider my following idea:

      As a parent with kids (totally healthy by the way), I do tend to talk a lot about my childeren if someone asks me about, so that's a great way to connect with me.

      ANDDDD I wouldn't just only focus on my kids, if I were you. It can some times feel "pushy" or maybe even "Vunreble" (kwetsbaar) to talk about them on a business networking event. So do ask also other questions about ME and my passions and business as well.

      I am sorry if I am giving you "ongevraagd advies", this is what camp up when I read your tips, @Dunja.

      1. Yes Aramik, this is a good reminder.
        For me...and perhaps also for Dunja, the focus is on parenthood and that might be vulnerable .

  17. Great ideas all, but what I miss is some interest in the person.
    Do you have kids?
    What does your wife do?
    You can make enough free time for the family?
    Time for a hobby on the site?

    1. I understand what you mean. But my experienced learned that those personal questions are easy to think of.

      The come to the business questions are harder. And by brainstorming now it will be a success at the next meeting to combine both kinds.

  18. 1. What is the one thing you dream of?
    2. How would you like to be an example for your kids in your work?
    3. What are you proud of that you accomplished in the past 6 months?
    4. What makes you so good in what you do?
    5. Why is your biggest fan your biggest fan?
    6. If money was not an issue, what would you be doing right now?
    7. What makes you happy on a normal working day?

    And questions that I would ask that would be more about the topic I can work on with them:

    1. What did you discover during COVID times and lots of remote work?
    2. How did it affect your team?
    3. What do you see as the new way of working now that we’re going back to work again?
    4. What would you like to achieve with your team in the coming year?
    5. What might block you?
    6. What type of help would you want?
    7. What’s your biggest tip for other managers struggling with the same issues?
    8. Do you know another manager or teamleader who had to deal with a team that is not working together in the same space anymore that I could ask the same questions?

      1. I am very happy with NOT being a president, thank you;)

        Of course you are welcome to share my questions Aramik.

  19. 1. What does your company look like in 10 years? What did you achieve? What clients do you serve by then?
    2. What is your USP? What makes you different from your competitors?
    3. Who inspires you?
    4. Who in your business do you work with?
    5. Who is you target audience?
    6. How do you change your business/branche?

    By the way, it's fun to answer the questions yourself 🙂

    1. Yess! I love your contributions and your daily efforts, @Ine. These are great questions and yes! Shall we do a Roll play here? You answer my question and I answer yours? 🙂

  20. This topic is again super.

    As addittioal questions on top of the questions already mentioned I would like to add these.

    1 Where does your company excel, what are you or your company an expert in.

    2 Do you have a good relationship with your customers and what business strategy do you have in terms of customer loyalty.

    3 Where do you get the most energy from in what you do?

    4 Are almost impossible challenges make you happy and excited?

    5 Do you like the research part of your work.?

  21. I LOVEEEEE this topic, specially when it's Online...

    And Nisandeh: woww! I love these 10 Questions. So here come my favorites Question to ask while I am networking.

    1: What are you passionate about?
    2: Do you know anybody else here?
    3: What is going on in your business?
    4: What are your biggest Challenges in your current Business?
    5: How do you usually get your (online/offline) clients?
    6: How do you combine your work with your private life?
    7: What kind of Clients are you looking for?
    8: If I would introduce you to my network: Who should I think about then? (who is your Target audience?)
    9: What do you do for FUN?
    10: Where do you like to go on holidays?
    11: So how did you manage this C-Crisis?
    12: How can I help you from today on?

      1. You are so welcome, Naomi! It's so great to see you here after all those years. Woow! I still remember that unique program "The Business Makeover" that Nisandeh once did, somewhere in Hilversum, I think! 🙂 Keep up your great work and thanks again!

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