Networking … it’s a dreaded word.
And an even more dreaded act to engage in (at least for most people).
Unfortunately you only call something “networking” when you don’t like nor look forward to the experience of meeting or seeing people. BUT you have to call it something to make it feel like it wasn’t a total waste of your time.
But the truth is that networking is an everyday, day-to-day, daily occurrence. Like (hopefully) brushing your teeth.
When networking feels good, it gets called “a great conversation” or “a new connection” or “a lovely experience” or “so good to get to know you better.”
So do what you must in your head to make the necessary re-arrangements – to know networking as a positive force in the world.
And what makes the experience so lovely? (Don’t worry – it’s not a rhetorical question!)
It’s usually because one or both of you wasn’t following a script.
One or both of you more than likely inspired the other to feel authentic.
One or both of you certainly has better things to do with your time and because you do, you make everything you do worth your while and worthwhile for the other person by default.
To help you create more magic moments (because isn’t life better when there’s magic in it?!) between you and another human being, here is a list of 32 questions that are actually interesting to be asked + intriguing to hear the answer to.
Use your discretion here. Read the situation you’re in. Risk being more you. And of course write to me to tell me how things went:
1. What inspired you to get into the work that you’re doing?
2. What’s the most memorable compliment you’ve ever received for your work? What made it so memorable?
3. What do you want it to say on your tombstone (alternatively: What do you want to be remembered for?) + What do you do each day to support this personal legacy in the making?
4. What do you think you need to take your career to the next level? (If you have something in mind that could help, offer).
5. If you could have dinner with anyone – dead or alive, real or imagined, who would it be and why?
6. Do you have a morning ritual?
7. When was the last time you amazed yourself?
8. When was the last time someone amazed you? What did they do?
9. If you could sit down with your 15-year-old self, what advice would you offer that you could actually hear + use? BTW – you’re not allowed to write yourself off as unreachable or rebellious or arrogantly deaf. We’re talking about you meeting you to help pave the way for your future.
10. What’s something you want to accomplish before this year is over? (If you can think of a way to help, offer).
11. Even though you are a ______________________ [insert job title] what do you consider to be your expertise? And is that because of training, real life experience or a combination of both?
12. Did a teacher change your life? How?
13. What are your strategies for dealing with criticism?
14. If someone wanted to recognize you so that you knew that you were doing a great job, what would be a meaningful way to do that?
15. Where and when do your best ideas come to you?
16. Have you ever met someone whose work you truly admired? What happened?
17. How do you celebrate your successes?
18. What influenced your career choice + approach the most?
19. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received to apply to your career?
20. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got about your career?
21. When you need support for decision-making in your career, who do you go to or what do you do?
22. If there was such a thing as a career fairy godmother, what would you wish for?
23. If you taught a course on how to be a success in your career, who would you invite to guest lecture?
24. Is there a quote or person that you keep in mind and aspire to in your career approach?
25. If you were to give a class, what would you love to talk about and what would be required reading?
26. What do you do or value outside of work that contributes to when you are at work?
27. What do you think of the concept of work-life balance? And how does it apply or not to your life?
28. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? And what skills from those aspirations apply to what you do now?
29. What does your family think of what you do for work? Or maybe more accurately, what do they think you do for work?
30. In your career, what do you want to pass on as your legacy to future generations?
31. What are you thinking about the most when you wake up each day?
32. Right now, in terms of growing your business (or your career), what’s the highest leverage challenge you’re facing? (If you know of something that could help, offer it. With a generous spirit).
And don’t be shy about asking yourself these questions as part of creating your own career fairy tale come true. Get to know yourself better: Journal the answers to yourself because I bet you don’t even know what you’d say for certain.
Where you fuel, re-tool and attune your imagination. Get your soul to work (on purpose). Ruthless compassion. Fierce gentleness. Sassy wisdom. And oodles of insight.