Even if you’re an extrovert, it can be an unnerving experience to meet a new person, let alone a whole group. Breaking the ice with someone you don’t know is a necessary skill in this networking age, and is crucial to both your career and your personal life. Embrace this challenge and have fun getting to know what these people have to offer.
I came across a blog post by Rebekah Radice with a list of no-fail questions to establish meaningful relationships on social media, and realized many of them would also work well in face-to-face networking settings.
For example, you could ask someone “Do you like movies?” and then follow up with Rebekah’s, “What’s one movie you could watch over and over?” There are so many genres of movies I’m sure you’ll never hear the same answer twice! You’re sure to learn a lot about the person’s personality.
(Martin’s answer: The Italian Job – the 1969 original, not the 2003 remake.)
She also has, “If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do?” This will inspire the other person to speak about what’s important to them, and will bring more enthusiasm and fun into your conversation.
(Martin’s answer: A spending spree at Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen, including gifts for all my friends!)
Find out if the person prefers cats or dogs. There is no wrong answer, unless of course you happen to be a cat lover or a dog lover.
(Martin’s answer: I love both! I don’t have a dog right now because I travel so much.)
If you were in a band, what instrument would you play? Whether or not you are musical, every instrument has a personality of its own, and a unique role in the band.
(Martin’s answer: I would play the trumpet because it’s very powerful and resonating, echoing throughout the space.)
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Food is always a popular topic.
(Martin’s answer: Can beer be a food? Chocolate would also be good – it even has some health benefits!)
What is your favourite time of the year, and why?
(Martin’s answer: Fall, with its fresh air and beautiful colours (photo). The only downside is that you’re sliding into winter.)
What sort of questions do you ask when you meet people for the first time? The floor is yours…