Ask great questions and practice your listening skills

When you’ve been at a networking meeting, have you ever found yourself talking to someone and you can see that their mind is really elsewhere? You wonder if they are mentally making a shopping list for later and what they might have for supper!

Then there’s the poor listener who is thinking about their response and they’re ready to jump in way before you’ve finished what you have to say.

Another bad habit is someone who is looking to promote a quick fix to your problem before they’ve really got to know you, gained your trust or earned your confidence in them.

The most attractive listener is the person who is willing to ask questions to understand what’s going on in your world. They are asking you questions such as ‘How do you feel about…’, ‘What does that mean to you….’, ‘What do you think about…’, ‘Tell me more…’

When you ask a great question the more useful information you are going to gain. You can use this invaluable information to your advantage to build rapport and trust. Eventually you will know enough about that person to be able to help them by offering the right solution for them.

I call these questions ‘Killer Questions’.

To find out how I might be able to help someone I ask ‘How do you generate your leads?’ This gets them talking about their marketing. Then I might ask a specific question such as ‘How do you use Twitter or LinkedIn to engage with your target audience?’

‘Tell me about your business’ is another great conversation starter. Then you can steer the conversation to ask about their issues within your field of expertise.

An HR consultant might ask ‘How many people do you employ?’ What’s your most pressing staff issue currently?

In fact, if you’re having a 10 minute conversation and you’ve asked a great question and listened intently to the reply, which may take 8 minutes, you will have gained a wealth of relevant information. So now in the remaining 2 minutes you can choose exactly the right things to say in your response. You can demonstrate your expertise, give some valuable information and open the door for the conversation to be continued outside of the networking meeting; the all important follow up.

What’s your Killer Question?

Before going to your next networking meeting, perhaps think of a couple of questions that you can ask that gets your fellow networker talking about themselves and about an area of their lives or business where you can help them.

There’s a saying ‘the more you give, the more you gain’. This is very true with networking. The more you try to help people the more opportunities and introductions seem to flow your way. A great question to ask to find out how you could help someone is:

What type of people are you looking for introductions to? Chances are you know someone that you could introduce them to.

Give it a go and use the comments section below to let me know what your ‘Killer questions’ are.

If you are new to networking and wish to fast track your networking skills, you may wish to consider ‘Attractive Networking’ on-line marketing training. It consists of 10 modules of which ‘Practice your listening skills and ask questions’ is one.

Call Nicola on 07565 382803 or email for more details about ‘Attractive Networking’.