What questions should I ask when networking?
The questions you might ask at a networking event may depend on the type of event that you are at. However, if you are at a networking group or large event it is important that you ask open (and inclusive) questions. This can then be followed up with further open questions or closed questions.
It is then important to listen to the response given.
If you are in a smaller group or having one-to-one conversations you may also wish to ask more “fact-finding” questions. This can be a basic starting point to get more insight or data or to gain knowledge that you can use in the future. E.g. you might use the conversation as an opportunity to identify pain points or find an opportunity od a solution.
If you have arranged a follow-up fact-finding meeting with a contact (or informational interview) you should have prepared a list of questions in advance. This will mentally help you prepare and identify the key points that you wish to discuss. It is likely that further questions will come out of the discussion you have and that you move away from your list, but the list should provide the direction. Depending on the situation you may or may not wish to directly refer to your list. For example, if it is a one-off opportunity you will want to check the list to ensure that you have covered off everything you wanted to and do so in a professional manner.
Types of Questions:
The types of questions you might wish to ask might be:
- open questions
- closed questions
- fact-finding questions
- opportunity finding questions
- solution questions.
When asking questions it is essential to actually listen to the response carefully (and not plough on to the next question). After all you need to:
- listen to respond;
- listen to understand;
- listen to empathise.
By listening and concentrating you can show interest and ask for more information.