5 Power Questions To Build Your Network

81% of the time, our next job will come from a friend, referral, or friend-of-a-friend. So, maybe we should spend less time beefing up our resumes and more time beefing up our networking skills! Networking sounds so hard and clinical. It can be no fun if the story we tell ourselves about networking is that it’s awkward instead of an adventure. So networking can look like speed dating or a conversation with someone on an airplane, it just depends on how you frame it.

Networking should be a friend-making exercise. 2 of the 3 most popular ways to find another job are through a direct or indirect friend. And the best way to build a network is to ask your new friend, “Help me understand some ways I can assist you?” We think of networking as getting, when it is actually about giving. The more we give, the more we benefit.

Ok, sounds good Jim, but I need a job or job change, right now!

Ok, try these 5 questions for great results in a friend-networking world.

1. “Please share with me how money is made in your industry”

This gives us a window inside the goals, customers, and possible pain points for businesses – from startups to fortune 500 organizations. Amazingly, we’ll find many people are not clear on how they actually generate revenue or report profit. Maybe your new friend is in this position. As we ask questions of people, causing them to think, be curious or wonder, they will like us a lot.

Result: They value us greatly for making them think and communicate in a way that they are not used to on a regular basis. Simple questions, causing someone to think – are a serious Homerun!

“Make someone feel a little better about themselves, they will like you a lot” ~ Lord Chesterfield.

2.  “Can you share with me a current business challenge you would like to solve?”  As you gain clarity through really listening to your friend, you might have some powerful insights, different resources, or new perspectives, and that may gain you real favor with your friend. We can remind them gently later how helpful we were, and let them know their support of us with others would be greatly appreciated.

3. “Who else do you know who may benefit from the kind of relationship we share?” Ewwww. Good one! This is my favorite question, as they are now not just saying yes or no to supporting us, they are genuinely thinking about others they know and how you might be able to assist them. An excellent follow-on question is, “Would you be comfortable connecting us on e-mail or via LinkedIn?

4. “Why are you so lazy?” See we call this a readership test — to see if any of you, got this far, before telling me how much you like my blogs! 🙂 JJJJ

5. “If there is something about working with me you really like or don’t like – I would so value your opinion.” This is a little bit of trust test.

Two benefits here:

–        Obviously if they give us good feedback, where their compliments match others comments and our perceptions of ourselves – it is great at building our self-awareness.

–        Instead, they may give you shallow or weak comments – and either they are not a great friend yet, or we might ask ourselves when we gave weak feedback to someone asking for it. Could it be they don’t trust us enough to really be candid? They may soft-pedal the feedback, and if it is too shallow or hollow in our mind, it may be time to do some fence-mending or adding deposits into the emotional bank account of that relationship.

So, you got 4 legitimate questions – are there other questions you like for building your friend-network? Would you share them with me?

Good NetWorking = Good Net-Worth

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