How To Network Like An Expert
Management is all about making connections and using your contacts: given that managers will move progressively into more senior and demanding roles, either inside their existing companies, or with new organisations, establishing and making use of connections is a key management skill.
Try the following 8 opening questions to get your networking programme off to a strong start:
- What things at work are giving you a sense of excitement? Nice, open starter which is just testing the water but which will give you a potential “in” to a deeper discussion.
- What are you looking forward to? Good way to get to know the person better – the response may be about work but also connected to family/social life. Either way this gives you a good impression of the other person and what makes them tick.
- What were the successes for you over the last 12 months? Should uncover areas of personal growth and development along with some views on key learning events.
- When did you realise that things in life were getting “serious”? A good opportunity for reflection and review and especially useful if you then share your views on your own experiences.
- Got any interesting hobbies? Exploring what people do for “fun” and relaxation is a great icebreaker.
- Which historical figure inspires you the most? Again, a good insight into what shapes their character and approach towards issues so be prepared to share yours too.
- Do you have favourite charities that you support? This identifies what the person you are chatting to really cares about – there are bound to be some common threads here that you can explore and develop.
- What is the most important thing I should know about you? Only ask this if things are going well as it can put some people off as it could be being a little too intrusive. You could temper this with offering your own view first to ease the conversation along.
Using the above questions as a framework there should be no reason why you cannot dive into conversations that will open and explore possible connections and working links. You might well be surprised by what you uncover!
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