8 Questions to Ask When Networking

The best lesson for effective networking? Ask better questions. President and CEO Lauren Parker shares her go-to questions when connecting with fellow professionals.

As an introvert, I used to cower at the thought of walking up to a stranger at a networking event and making small talk. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of self-doubt and self-deprecation in professional situations when people are trying to wheel and deal.

Over the past few years (and especially during the pandemic), I’ve made an effort to find new ways to make networking work for me. The best lesson: ask better questions. Doing so gets the other person talking and reveals new information you can use to further the conversation and try to find opportunities where you both can connect. Here are some of my go-tos:

  1. What’s been the most surprising lesson you’ve learned in your career?
  2. What is your favorite part of your job?
  3. Can you tell me about a project you’re most proud of?
  4. Who was the greatest boss you’ve ever had - and what made them so?
  5. What advice would you give yourself on your first day on the job, knowing what you know now?
  6. What trends are you tracking within your field?
  7. What’s the biggest hurdle you see for yourself / your organization this year?
  8. What was the last book you read (or podcast you listened to)?

Want to network with me? Feel free to reach out: lauren.parker@slidenine.com.