Thursday, January 10, 2008

How to Start a Conversation With Just About Anyone

I wrote the other day about how much I was enjoying Bob Burg's excellent book, Endless Referrals. Burg talks a lot about networking (and about the importance of giving in your networking) in his book, and he focuses on building "know, like, and trust" relationships with the people you meet in your life.

I agree with Burg when he says that the best networking opportunities occur almost every day, practically anywhere and at any time. And, of course the secret to capitalize on these "anytime, anywhere" networking opportunities is to get the other person to talk about themselves. Burg offers his 10 Feel-Good Questions® That Work Every Time (e.g., How did you get your start in the widget business?). I won't go into the 10 questions here, though I've used some similar questions in networking situations and they definitely work.

Burg also suggests using good FORM for starting a general conversation with just about anyone: talking about Family, Occupation, Recreation, or Message (that is, what values, principals, and charities are important to them).

And the most important question of all, in a networking setting:

How can I know if someone I'm speaking to is someone you'd like to meet?

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