My good friend, Al Martella, Executive Coach to the Stars who coached and mentored thousands of financial advisors at Merrill Lynch is back with another nugget this week. Having our weekly conversations, I am the lucky one who learns so much from him constantly.
Here is what Al shared about ‘starting the conversation’ when you are networking.
“My son-in-law, Ross, is convinced that whenever I attend a family gathering that I come prepared with at least five “conversation starters” – that is, simple questions to get a person involved in a conversation. Ross is correct – whenever I attend a trade show, a seminar or networking event, or even a family gathering, I do think about questions that will help me to know people better quickly.
- Attending a trade show for CPAs and Accountants:
- “How will the new tax act impact your practice?”
- “What do you believe is the most significant feature of the new tax act?”
- At a seminar on Retirement Planning:
- “How would you define a successful retirement?”
- “What is the one thing you most hope to accomplish in retirement?”
- At a Networking Event:
- “What brought you to this event?”
- “What do you think about the event so far?”
- At the family gathering:
- “Tell me what fun things have you been doing since we last met?”
- “What big events are coming up for you this year?”
My sole objective is to help the person be comfortable in speaking with me. I’d like that person to feel like I am someone that they would want to get to know. I accomplish that by giving them a chance to know their opinion is important.
When you ask a question, be totally present to their answer. You aren’t only listening for factual information – you want to listen for their “tone” and the emotion and the passion behind their answer.
Andrea always suggests: “Be reliable, trustworthy, always follow-up, and be a great listener.”
I add one more thing – be likable.
So I ask you, what questions do you ask when networking?”
Once again, Al has said it all. Follow his sage advice.