Making Friends at Networking Events ~ How to Network More Effectively

“How can I network more effectively,” is a question that, as a life and business coach, I am often asked. While there are many aspect of that question that could be addressed, (what do want to get out of the networking event, how to pick the right networking event, how to get the most out of networking) what I am going to focus on in this article is how to get to know a stranger without things getting weird.

You know what I mean. You say, “Hi my name is Cassi, I provide a place for entrepreneurs to learn, grow and spotlight their talents. What do you do?” They say, “Hi, I’m Sue.” You smile at each other as you wait for the other person to continue. You rack your brain for questions to ask and, as you fall short, you scan the crowd for a familiar face or try to figure out where the bathroom is so you can make your getaway. You simply don’t know what to say and the awkwardness is growing.

I am going to share something a guest speaker at a networking event shared with the group. It’s an easy way to make sure you know exactly what questions to ask so you find a common bond and connect with that wonderful new person. It’s fun and easy.

Imagine that you’re at a networking meeting. You see somebody who looks interesting and you want to meet them. You walk over and hold your hand out introducing yourself and look at their name badge. That will prompt you to ask your first question, what is your name?

Once they answer, telling you their name, imagine the name tag falls off their shirt and falls on the ground. When you look at it, you noticed there’s a picture of the world on the back of the name tag. This prompts you to ask your second question, where are you from?

Once they answer this question, the name tag is swept away by a breeze. You follow where it goes with your eyes and notice it lands in front of a house. This prompts your third question. Where do you live now?

When they answer that question, you look at the house and noticed there is a big picture window. When you look inside you see a family. That prompts your next question. Tell me about your family.

So far, we have the following questions:
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
Where do you live now?
Tell me about your family.

A great start. Let’s continue imagining.

You are looking through the big picture window and you noticed that there is a cat and a dog sitting on the sofa in the living room. This reminds you to ask your new friend if they have any pets.

You also notice that there are weights in the living room. The set of weights has a plus on one side and a minus on the other side. The set of weights reminds you to ask this person about their work. When they tell you about it, the plus on one side prompts you to ask what they like about their job. The minus on the other side of the weights prompts you to ask them what they do not like about their job.

Then you notice that they have a set of golf clubs in the corner of the room. This reminds you to ask them what they like to do for fun.

So by now you have asked them:
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
Where do you live now?
Tell me about your family.
Do you have any pets?
What do you do for work?
What do you like about your job?
What do you not like about your job?
What do you do for fun?

After asking all these questions, they will love the fact that you were so interested in them and you will certainly find common ground so that you’re able to branch out and form a more genuine conversation.

Now that you know how to network more effectively and become comfortable making new friends, you will want to find the right group to fit your objectives and ask the right questions before, during and after the event to network more effectively.

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