You’ve likely read that President Clinton has an amazing ability to make a person feel like he or she is the most important person in the room. He also has an amazing memory of names and faces.

Anne Marie O’Brien is a Lamson Dugan and Murray partner I coached back in 2011. She has the same talent and people skills, and I wish I could be with her once a day just to get the energy boast.

Every quarter I met with her group in Omaha and we ate dinner together. Each time, Anne Marie asked her colleagues and me great questions that got the conversation going.

One time she asked:

What made you decide to become a lawyer?

Another time  she asked:

What was your best trial experience? What was your worst trial experience?

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She then listened as each of her colleagues (all men) answered.

Anne Marie has a gift and is able to engage people by asking questions. I wish I had her gift. Her interest and curiosity are just a part of who she is. I’m positive I would have developed more relationships with potential clients.

I always felt awkward at events, unless I had made a presentation. Because I never enjoyed networking, I decided several times in my career to simply practice. I read books and articles by networking experts and came up with some networking questions for events attended by business men and women. Here are my questions:

Networking Questions

  1. Network Question.jpgHow did you get started in_______?
  2. What made you decide to go into the ___business?
  3. What do you love/enjoy most about what you do?
  4. Tell me about your company.
  5. What separates your company from the competition?
  6. What changes are happening in your industry?
  7. How is the current economy impacting your business?
  8. Depending on the answer: Do you see things turning around for you?
  9. What do you see happening in your industry over the next few years?
  10. What are some of the projects you are currently working on?
  11. What ways does your company promote/market its products/services?
  12. Does your company use social media in its marketing efforts?
  13. What do you like to do in your spare time?
  14. Tell me about your family.
  15. What do your children enjoy doing?
  16. Where are you from originally?
  17. How long have you lived here?
  18. What do you enjoy the most about living in ___________?
  19. What can I do to help you? What can I do to help your business?

What questions would you add to this list?

If you are like me and need more help on networking, here are some books on my reading list:

How to Work a Room, Revised Edition: Your Essential Guide to Savvy Socializing by Susan RoAne

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes

How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Lessby Nicholas Boothman

  • I would also recommend “Endless Referrals” by Bob Burg. He gives a great list of networking questions that can break the ice in most situations.

  • Thank you so much for including my first book, How To Work a Room®. on your recommended reading list!
    What a nice surprise!
    There are many free articles on all aspects of networking, socializing for business and conversation strategies on my site. Even a “Schmooze Quotient” Quiz.
    Best, Susan RoAne