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.
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.
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.
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.