Are you tired of the small talk at golf outings and corporate events?

Are you looking to refresh your networking or dating questions?

Ten tried and true conversation-starters. Remember, no question in the world will help you build relationships and loyalty with clients and friends, if you’re not truly interested in them. So, the next time you are tempted to ask “Where are you from?” or “What brings you here today? instead try:

  1. What advice would you give me if I wanted to be successful in your line of work? It shows your humility, eagerness to learn and could open a door for mentoring. Even if it’s not an industry you are interested in, consider how these best practices are applicable across industry lines.
  2. Tell me about your favorite client/teacher/friend – You will learn what they value and appreciate, plus you might get some funny stories that you can remind them of in the future.
  3. Describe the ideal employee for your company/organization? These attributes are priceless – jot them down once you leave. This question could also open conversation around mentoring/sponsoring.
  4. What do you enjoy most about what you do? This question may seem light, but it gives you a better feel for their personality and drive.
  5. What do you see as the coming trends in your area of expertise? You’ll hear about advances in technology, labor, costs, etc. All of which gives you industry or competitor insight, plus a pulse on the economy.
  6. What was the strangest/funniest situation you’ve experienced in your business? People love to share work stories of being in the trenches and how they persevered and succeeded. Resist the temptation to interrupt or to interject your own war stories unless they ask at the end.
  7. It’s the end of a great week and you have some free time on your hands – what will you do? This question replaces “what are you doing this weekend” to more of what is your ideal weekend. You will get less tasks and learn more of their personal life and dreams.
  8. How did you get involved in this non-profit/sports league/bookclub? People like to tell their story. Give them an opportunity to do so. You will learn more about them, their beliefs and about the organization.
  9. What have you found to be the best way to promote yourself and your business/charity of choice? Listen to their ideas and borrow their experiences in your business.
  10. Where are your favorite places to get work done? A change of scenery can increase your creativity and productivity. Try leaving the office and working remotely each month.