40+ Questions You Should Ask at a Conference or Networking Event

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40+ Questions You Should Ask at a Conference or Networking Event

It's a strange experience talking to non-businesspeople. I've learned that, if you're not in business, questions like "What do you do?" or "What line of work are you in?" can be seen as rude and forward. It's like asking someone how much money they make.

That can make it difficult to get to know people if you're used to asking that question as a networking icebreaker. It's especially weird because most of the people I know are businesspeople, and we're taught very early on to ask that question of each other. It's how we find out about each other and learn how we can help each other grow our businesses or advance our careers.

But rather than rely on that old standby to carry you through networking events, how about some other questions you could use to start a conversation with someone you've just met, or someone you don't know that well.

 What brought you here today?    

   How did you get into this line of work?    

   What do you like the most about your job?    

   What do you like the least about it?    

   What's the weirdest thing to happen to you in your job?    

   What's the coolest thing to happen in your job?    

   Do you have any side gigs?    

   If you could do anything you wanted, other than what you're doing now, what would it be?    

   What did you want to do when you were 10 years old?    

   What's your favorite business book?    

   Who's your favorite business author?    

   What book are you reading right now?     

   What's the last book you read?    

   What's your favorite non-business book?    

   What's the last non-business book you read?    

   Who's your favorite author?    

   Are you originally from this city?    

   Where did you go to high school college?    

   What made you choose your major?    

   What job(s) did you have in high school college?    

   Did your education prepare you for what you're doing now?    

   Who were your role models when you were growing up?    

   Who were your non-parental role models when you were growing up?    

   What's the farthest you've ever been from home?    

   Do you like speaking in pub c?    

   What's the last job you had?    

   What has been your most favorite job ever?    

   What's a piece of advice you would tell your 22-year-old self?    

   What's a piece of advice you would give yourself 20 years from now?    

   What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field?    

   What's the most important skill for someone in your field?    

   What, despite what you were told in school, has been the least important skill?    

   If someone wanted to get into your field, what would you recommend they learn first?    

   What changes have you seen in your industry since you started in it?    

   What are your favorite business industry podcasts?    

   What are your favorite non-business podcasts?    

   If you could no longer live here, where in the world would you want to live?    

   Have you ever met anyone famous?    

   Have you ever met anyone who's famous in your industry?    

   Is there a professional association for your job or your industry?    

   Do you attend any industry conferences?        


Erik Deckers is the president of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing agency with clients throughout the United States. He is also the co-author of Branding Yourself, No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine. Erik has been blogging since 1997, and a newspaper humor columnist since 1994. He has written several radio and stage plays, and numerous business articles. Erik was the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL, and now serves on their board of directors.

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