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Networking questions to ask at an event

Questions to ask when networking

Networking events can be extremely valuable to your job search and professional life but sometimes it can be difficult to know what to say. The following are some networking questions to give you some ideas about conversation topics when meeting with potential contacts or employers.

In-person networking discussions

Although you may connect with people online via LinkedIn, for example, it’s a good idea to be prepared for if you meet a contact in person. For example someone on your target list may be attending the same networking event as you. You may also approach new connections for a follow-up meeting after a networking event.

Stay positive

Be confident and positive. Don’t let self-doubt or negative language from your previous end of employment surface. If you’re still feeling negative about how a previous job ended, consider giving yourself more time to process emotion before launching into your networking.

Networking questions

Ask those networking questions that are most relevant to you. Always keeping an eye on the contact’s body language and make sure they’re not looking uncomfortable.

When you start the conversation, begin with some small talk rather than launching straight into the questions. Chat about the weather, their journey, the event speakers etc. This can make you and them feel more relaxed and you start to build a relationship with the person.

How did you get into this industry?
What’s changed in your industry over the last few years?
What general trends do you see in the [XX] industry?
How can I find more information about [XX industry] issues?
Are there any particular companies that are leaders in this field?
Who are the most important people in the industry today?
What type of professional and personal skills does it take to succeed at this type of work?
What opportunities for advancement are there in this organisation or in the field?
What advice would you give someone just starting out in this business?
What do you like most about this industry?
What type of projects are you working on?
What do you want to achieve next?
What separates your business from the competition?
Who else can you recommend I talk to about [XX]? When I call, may I use your name?

Closing the networking discussion

Networking is a two way street, so finish by asking and determining how you can help them as you may be able to connect them with someone or assist them in some way. You may wish to close by saying something like “You have been very helpful, can I help you in some way?”

After the event

Always a meeting, send a follow up note via email or LinkedIn. You cam include an article or a name of someone that can assist them if relevant from your discussion.

Read more about how to follow-up a contact.