This is networking tip #2 in my series of 5 counter intuitive networking tips. Whenever people meet for the first time one of the questions that is almost guaranteed to come up is ‘What do you do?’. Extended versions include:
‘What do you do for a living?’ and
‘What line of business are you in?’

There is nothing wrong with asking the question. Just do not make it the very first question. Breaking the ice first will establish some rapport between you and increase the chance that when you tell the other person what you do, they will actually care!

Getting straight down to the nitty gritty may be efficient but is not so effective if you are looking to develop a relationship with potential clients and introducers.

If you were in a queue and started a conversation with the person in front of you, would you ask them what they do? More likely you would make a comment about the weather or the length of the queue. From there a conversation will normally flow and the ‘what do you do’ question is guaranteed to come up. Networking meetings should be no different..

I call these conversation openers ‘chat up lines’. My favourite chat up lines include things as trivial as asking the person whether it is their first time at the event, or whether they have travelled far.

Finding potential clients and introducers is not so different from finding potential partners in life. A bit of flirting can go a long way!

Previous tips in the series:
Networking tip #1 – Don’t meet new people…