Uncomfortable with networking? Try out this new ‘friends mantra’ from Harvard

Uncomfortable at networking? Try out this new 'friends mantra' from Harvard

Social events especially where you meet people for the first time, can be daunting. Small talk, networking talk, formal talk can sometimes put you in a fix.

Going ahead with the usual questions like – ‘What do you do?’ ‘Where do you live?’ etc can seem lame, boring and repetitive. Most times, they may not even be good starters to a long-drawn conversation.

The Harvard Business Review has now published eight great questions that can help people at networking events. They’ve also written about their findings on how colleagues get on better, enjoy work more, and stay connected for longer if they share common experiences outside of work.

Harvard also says that these questions may actually help a person make a new friend. “Research findings from the world of network science and psychology suggests that we tend to prefer and seek out relationships where there is more than one context for connecting with the other person,” says Harvard.

Question 1 –
What excites you right now?
This can be an open-ended question that can draw varied answers. From an upcoming holiday, to a work milestone, kids, family – experiences can just start flowing.

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Question 2 –
What are you looking forward to?
Helps people smile and talk about future goals and events. Can be a wonderful cue to move on from here.

Question 3 –
What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?
A wonderful, fresh, open-ended question, similar in some ways to the previous one, but brings forth events that have occurred rather than ones that are anticipated in the future.

Question 4 –
Where did you grow up?
Again, brings back memories that can sometimes be happy or remorseful. Yet, helps open up a conversation. On an average, people are mostly delighted to talk about their growing up days and locations etc.

Question 5 –
What do you do for fun?
This can bring forth a vast canvas of answers. From golf to skiing to painting, writing, dancing, reading, cooking and what not. People generally enjoy talking about their fun moments.

Question 6 –
Who is your favourite superhero?
Again, can give different perspectives. From Batman, Superman to Wonder Woman – people can have different connections and it also speaks volumes about their personalities.

Question 7 –
Is there a charitable cause you support?
This is a question that will help you understand immediately what they care most about and what their values and ethics are.

Question 8 –
What’s the most important thing I should know about you?
This could be an intimate question and many people may not be comfortable answering it. One of the best ways to approach this question, is to start with your own story. Helps make the connect and at the same time, makes the other person comfortable enough to open up.

So, next time you find yourself at a networking event and have to face uncomfortable situations, don’t fret. These eight questions are sure to hold you in good stead.

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