People love to talk about themselves, so master the art of asking questions and listening to the responses so you can ask relevant questions. If you can help them with a tidbit of information or link them to a resource, you will be seen as a caring and knowledgeable person.
You can either make a suggestion related to what their needs are, or help them in some other way. The person will remember that you were able to help them out.
Plus you will gain knowledge. Knowledge is power, and asking questions is seeking that power. Asking people questions about themselves makes you stand out in their mind.
Longer pauses before questions lead to longer answers. Taking these pauses makes you look professional and like you are really thinking and engaged, rather than just filling empty airtime.
It's okey-dokey to script your questions. Just rehearse them enough so they don't sound scripted.
Here are eight solid questions and statements for starting conversations and delivering solid first impressions:
1. How did you get into your line of work?
2. What interested you about the profession?
3. What do you like most about your industry?
4. What major changes do you foresee in your industry?
5. What has been happening in your industry?
6. What are the current trends?
7. What have you found to be the best way of getting the word out and promoting your business?
8. I’m meeting people all the time, so tell me: How would I know if
somebody I meet would be a good contact for you?
“Good questions are far more difficult than good answers.” -- Persian Proverb
Also add these to your conversational Rolodex:
Tell me more.
What are your ideas about…?
There is something I would like to ask you…
What is your opinion on…?
Do not ask questions in rapid-fire succession. This is not a Dragnet interrogation or a time for cross-examination. Nor is it a time to relive your glory days on the debate team. Avoid asking questions that are manipulative, boring, embarrassing, hostile, confrontational, insulting, or too intimate.
When you approach people, they will start talking about something, so follow that with them and go with the flow. Abrupt changes in conversational course cause confusion and frustration.
Every question you ask makes a statement about you. Only ask questions that make you look good (smart, concerned, with-it, etc.).
Contributed by: Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success