6 Questions You’re Not Asking at Networking That You Should Be

The problem at networking events isn't awkward small talk.

The problem is not asking questions people enjoy answering.

So, if this sounds like you at every networking event:

“So what do you do?”

“Been busy lately?”

“How’s business?”

It's time to upgrade your conversation.

In this edition, we'll do that.


“If you were a biscuit Brad, what would you be? And why?”

This was a genuine question I was asked at a networking event.

And whilst at first it took me back and caught me off guard. After reflecting on it, it was a brilliantly bold ice breaker.

It disarmed it. My guard dropped. My ego fell away.

I actually found myself sharing what biscuit I’d be…and why!

It served as a reminder that networking doesn’t need to be serious. Make it fun. Make it human.

I met that person once - and still remember them and what they do today.

It got our conversation off to a memorable and refreshing start.

Good questions help you stand out from the sea of sameness at networking.

Making you and your conversation more memorable.

But biscuit related ones aside, the power of a good question is underrated.

Networkers often stress about what they need to say. From having a polished pitch, to being super charismatic and interesting.

But good questions help you shift from the feeling you need to be interesting, to being interested.

Here’s a few to keep up your sleeve:

1. What trends are you currently seeing in your industry?

This one highlights relevant and topical news in their business.

Opening up opportunity for you to dig deeper.

Starting to arm you with an understanding how you (or someone you know) may be able to help them.

You may find new information to use in future conversations. Or have a client working in or with that industry, and a way to connect with them on a deeper level.

A much better alternative to; “How’s business? Busy at the moment?”


2. What’s the next big thing you have coming up?

This one gives you chance to look ahead with them.

You’ll get an insight into an upcoming project, hire, or development in their business.

And with that, you can start to picture what they may need, and how you could help them.

Either by supporting them yourself or introducing to others.

Are they moving office? You might know a removal company, IT provider, or office supplier you could introduce them to.

Are they looking for a new hire? You could know someone looking for a similar role, or a recruitment agency you’d recommend.

By looking ahead, you can find ways to offer help.

3. What are you most excited about at the moment?

This question helps you inject some positivity into the conversation.

To see what gets them going.

I always see a glint in their eye and smile after asking this.

And I’ve seen the answers to these go down either a professional or a personal path.

It could be about an upcoming holiday → “oh great, where you off to?”

Or an upcoming project with a new client → “awesome, what kind of project?”

Lean into these responses.

People appreciate talking about what excites them.

And they remember you asking.

4. Any challenges coming down the line for you?

I don’t care what business you’re running or what role you’re in, everyone has a challenge in one way or another.

It could be struggling hiring for a new role, or finding your new CRM hard to figure out, or a difficult supplier.

And at networking events people always like to shine themselves in the best light.

But that doesn’t always offer you chance to help them.

This question offers an invitation for them to drop the ego and offer up a little vulnerability.

To let you in to see if you (or someone you know) could provide any support.

Most will be grateful you asked this one.

And if they don’t offer up a challenge, ask them what their secret is for me please.

5. Describe your perfect customer, what keeps them up at night?

A different take on; “Who do you work with?”

And a way to avoid being on the receiving end of a common response - “we work with anyone”.

This is a more creative way to understand the problem they help solve.

Whilst also finding out what their customers look like.

You start to get a picture of who you can connect them with.

And who in your network you know they could benefit knowing.

A question for the more curious networkers wanting to stand out.

6. If you had a day off tomorrow to do anything, what would you do?

Time to go beyond business with this one.

A fun twist to get an understanding of their passions and interests outside of business.

Don’t forget you are building human relationships first.

You may find a common interest with someone you least expected.

You cannot underestimate the power of taking a genuine interest in others.

Particularly if it’s about them and their passions.

Remember; human relationship first, business relationship second.

4 x Bonus Questions

These are some I’ve come across in recent months that have stuck with me:

  • What’s your moment of the month?
  • What’s the one thing you could give a Ted Talk on?
  • What’s the best thing you read in the last 3 months?
  • What is one professional story you’ll remember 25 years from now?

The Wrap Up

When networking, it’s not so much what you need to say. But it’s what you ask about others that helps you stand out from the crowd.

It frees you from feeling the need to be super interesting, to simply being interested.

Upgrading your questions from:

  • “What do you do?”
  • “How’s business?”
  • “Who do you work with?”


  • “What trends are you currently noticing in your industry?”
  • “What’s the next big thing you have coming up?”
  • “What are you most excited about at the moment?”
  • “Any challenges coming down the line for you?”
  • “Describe your perfect customer - what keeps them up at night?”
  • “If you had an afternoon to do anything you wanted, what would that look like?”

It could feel awkward asking them at first.

But trust me, those on the receiving end will be grateful.

So the event you step foot into, flick that autopilot switch off, and go in armed with these.

This is where the networking magic happens.

Be the networker that asks questions others enjoy answering.

Happy networking.

P.S. The Networkers Playbook helps arm you with the attitude, structure create deeper and stronger relationships (not seasonal ones).

Become an even smarter networker by taking The Networkers Playbook

A practical self-paced online course for those new to networking.

Arming you with the attitude, skills, and systems to become a better networker, expand your network, and create deeper relationships.