Small talk kick-starts the networking process. Small talk, however, is about getting the other person talking. This begs the question: What are great questions to ignite small talk?
While there is no magic, planning is paramount. Be like an attorney – prepare your questions before you ask them. In other words, have a small handful of questions ready to go, each of which relates to the person’s life, either professionally or personally.
From there, allow the conversation to take itself wherever. A few of these questions could include…
- What do you do? How long have you been doing it? How did you become interested in that?
- What are some of the projects or assignments you are currently working on?
- Are you from this area?
- Yes – What part?
- No – What brought you here?
- Outside of work, what occupies you? How did you become interested in that?
- What are some business or community organizations you are involved with?
These will give you a start. From here you might want to formulate your own series of questions. Note that these questions cannot be answered with a simple YES or NO. To generate conversation, questions must be open-ended.
And again, there is no magic. It is simply a matter of planning for how you will get and keep them talking.