Small talk has not really been my "thing" in the past. Gut now that I have worked to improve my networking skills, I find that it is a necessity.
And it's another reason to share this series of blog posts on improving personal interaction.
Author Scott Ginsberg says at some point in a conversation you must move beyond "how are you?" and talk about something else. And as hard as it is for me to believe, not everyone is a NASCAR fan. So what can I say to get the conversation going?
In his book The Power of Approachability, Scott Ginsberg has a section called "Let Me Ask Ya This...55 Great Questions to Ask Someone You Just Met." I want to share with you a few to try out at your next networking function.
- Who is the most famous person you've ever met?
- Are you a dog person or a cat person?
- What is your favorite part of your job?
- What is your favorite restaurant?
- If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be?
- If you could hear anyone in history give a speech, whom would you hear?
- If you could hire any actor to portray you in a movie, who would you chose?
These are not first question out of your mouth, but something that you can use to find out more about the person with whom you are speaking. Obviously, you have to pick and choose based on the situation and your comfort level, but when it is time to move beyond "boy it is cold out" or "so how is your business doing" these may do the trick!
• How did you get your start in the widget business?
• What do you enjoy most about your profession?
• What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?
• What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?
• How can I know if someone I'm talking to is a good prospect for you?