What's the easiest way to be seen as a bore? Talk about yourself.
So why would anyone think that successful networking means cornering as many people as possible and telling them all about your business? To the contrary, the best way to entertain a new contact and potential future referral partner is to get him to talk about himself and his business.
Your goal at a networking event is to make yourself memorable without talking about yourself. It sounds paradoxical, doesn't it? But, if you know how to do it, you will stand out in people's minds when they look back on the event. The secret is simply to ask people about themselves and their businesses.
A lot of people you run into at networking events are so busy talking about themselves, their products and all the great things they can do for you that they never take a breath and ask about you. Instead of competing with these folks, imagine the result of asking questions that encourage them to freely share that information. You can create a networking environment in which they're talking, you're listening and everyone is feeling heard. Not only will this technique help you stand out from the crowd, but it will also get you a ton of referrals.This all begins with your first conversation. If you lead off by asking the right questions -- questions that demonstrate a genuine interest in the other person's business -- you cultivate an attitude of trust and rapport from the start. Following are five good questions to ask that will make you a standout.