Kevin Willett says to engage someone by not letting them use a yes or no answer.
Many people don’t like to network because they’re just not comfortable with small talk. We’ve all had those painful conversations where we exchange one-word answers. When I’m talking with someone, I always try to find at least one question that will make the person smile and open up to me.
Let me give you an example. I was talking with a CPA at a networking event and, my friends, it was painful. I asked him three questions and he answered each with only one or two words. So finally, I asked him if he ever uncovered anyone stealing. Oh my God, his eyes almost jumped out his head and he went into this rather long and involved story about how he figured out a bookkeeper had been stealing money for years from her employer. I’ve been friends with him ever since, because I invested the time to connect with him. I could have just walked away, saying to myself, this guy has no personality. But I would have missed an opportunity to make a great friendship.
So when you meet people, ask yourself one question: What would be important to this person? Then ask them about that. If you’re not sure what to ask, simply ask what they feel is their biggest accomplishment. You’ll learn a lot about someone from the answer.
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Kevin Willett is the Author of One Connection How you can grow your business (and change the world) one connection at a time. The business networking book is available on Amazon. Purchase One Connection on Amazon
Kevin is also the CEO of the Friends of Kevin Networking Group and the New England B2B Networking Group. Please connect with him on social media to hear about his upcoming business networking events.