Hobbies can be another great conversation starter, along with “what do you like to do in your free time?”.
Hobbies are wide-ranging and varied and some can be more mainstream than others. If your hobbies are particularly mainstream/relatable you may wish to consider how you can talk around your hobbies to make them more accessible to all if you get onto the topic of hobbies at a networking event, or in a conversation with a contact.
As well as being a great conversation starter, hobbies can also be a great way to connect and build genuine relationships with individuals. It gives people common interaction points and opportunities for building rapport. It can also give you ideas for appropriate following-up opportunities with particular contacts.Even if your knowledge is limited, noting other people’s hobbies and interests can present opportunities to help, volunteer and be generous.
As part of your networking contact record I encourage you to include (data appropriate) notes on people’s hobbies and interests which as mentioned about can help to develop your relationship with them.
For example a lot of our business development opportunities for bringing along a contact are sport related e.g. football, cricket, rugby. Occasionally the BD opportunity might be tickets to an art show, a concert or ballet. When these opportunities come along, I want to know what my contacts are interested in so that I can pick the right contact to invite to the right event. Someone who appreciates the event itself.