Championship Networking Tip – Ask Productive Questions with host Christie Philips

Championship Networking Tip by Eric Shaw: Ask Productive Questions

Your financial fortune is determined by your questions, but asking, “Did you watch the game last night?” toward the beginning of a new encounter can be harmful.

Hooks are integral, but you must find them first and use them with discretion. For example, you don’t want to open a question with “Did you see Tyson’s latest comeback fight?” when the person you are speaking with is an advocate of pacifism in sports. If you find out later that he or she attended your alma mater, that’s another story entirely.

Begin each conversation with a question. The number one reason to begin a conversation with a question is so you can control the conversation. Use prepared and memorized questions. If you know a guest in advance, this can be very effective. If not, use your questions as guides only, and practice intelligent listening. Linked questions are usually effective in most any circumstance. Of course, you must tailor them for your specific audience, but in general these five icebreakers tend to do the trick:

  • What does your firm do?
  • What do you do for your firm?
  • What is your target market?
  • How long have you been at your firm?
  • Is your firm regional or national?

If it’s a good fit, hand them your business card and say, “Let’s get together to see if we can help each other do business.” As long as the rapport is there, you have a great opening. Notice also that you took the initiative. Let’s get together is wholly different then Maybe we should consider getting together, or some such.

On the flip-side, if there really is no match, just tell them, “It’s been a pleasure meeting you.”

And, remember, the way we do anything is the way we do everything!

Championship Networking is a column on Actors Reporter, a site on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.