There are very few things more important than the questions you ask when you meet a new connection. They allow you to set the tone of the interactions. Unless the conversation is steered in a productive direction, it can very quickly deviate into frivolous subjects. So it is imperative that you make the most out of your time with skillfully injected probing.
One thing to keep in mind is that the person you are talking to may not be in the position to do anything for you, and that’s okay? They undoubtedly know someone that can. Remember, the average person knows about 250 people. So one of the first things to ask would be, where do they work? And the next might be, what is their position? It’s always important to know where a person is in the company hierarchy. After that, it would be time to start the deep probing questions.
The reason you ask these questions is to figure out how you can serve them best. When you can solve a problem or introduce them to someone, you are working as a center of influence and doing them a favor. These are both very memorable and powerful ways to leverage your relationship.
If in the process of asking and answering the questions, you discover people that could be a help to them, make an offer to introduce them and set up a plan to make it happen. If you can do something for them, offer to do them a favor as an act of good will.
And then finally, one of the most powerful and least known ways to come into someone’s good graces is to ask them to do a favor for you. Usually asking for an introduction to the person in the position you need to deal with in their company is the most logical example. But it could be anything, really. It could be as small as asking to borrow a pen or save your place. The main objective is to be someone that they can know, like and trust.
I hope these insights helped. With just a little practice, memorizing these questions and doing simple role-playing exercises, you will be ready to make a profound impression on anyone you meet.
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