Harvard researchers found that people who are successful at making new connections aren’t asking questions like “how are you?” or “what do you do?”. Instead, an easier way to establish rapport with someone new is to discover shared commonalities. For example, a coworker that is reading the same book as you, or hikes the same trails.
Here are 6 small talk prompts for your next networking event or meeting:
- What excites you right now?
- What are you looking forward to this week?
- What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?
- Where did you grow up?
- What do you do for fun?
- What’s your current state of mind?
Regardless of which question you choose, the important thing is to ask a question open-ended enough to allow others to select non-work answers if they choose. Doing so will increase the chances that you didn’t just turn a stranger into a new contact on your phone, but that you actually made a new friend.