Productive Networking Conversations Part I: Making Initial Contact


Many people underestimate the power of preparation in maximizing their networking efforts. From researching the right event to attend, to preparing for the conversations they hope to have once they’re there, to how to follow up in the most effective way.

They just make it up as they go with meager results to show for it. And then,
ironically, they complain that, “networking doesn’t work.”

Whether you’re networking in person or trying to make connections online, it’s not about just being in the room, or putting up your profile. It’s about the quality of the interactions you have, and even more specifically, the quality of your CONVERSATIONS.

No relationship moves forward without words being exchanged. while some small talk can help break the ice and build initial rapport, you can’t stop there.

Before you start connecting with anybody, it’s important to think about strategic questions like:

  • Whom do I want to meet?
  • What’s the best way to meet them?
  • What’s the best way to introduce myself?
  • What do I want to convey?
  • What questions will I ask?

The difference between being a new contact that falls off their radar screen right away and one with potential staying power comes down to what you talk about. Light banter is all well and good, but it won’t move the needle. Not these days, not in our information-overloaded, multi-tasking society. 

If you don’t add value, you quickly become irrelevant. Moving the conversation forward adds value. Being authentically interested, listening actively, and asking questions lets the other person know there’s potential for a genuine relationship, and you’re not just trolling for business cards.

By the way, when I say “ask questions” I don’t mean questions like “How happy are you with your financial planner?” which has nothing to do with THEM, and everything to do with trying to ease your way into your sales pitch. Epic fail.

Instead, really get to know something about the person and what they do, and perhaps even why they do it. I LOVE talking to people about what they’re passionate about, how they got into it and where they hope to go from here.

Not only does that make networking much more enjoyable, I always end up learning something that’s helpful to me, and in turn, I may uncover an opportunity to help them. Now THAT’S productive!

Want to learn more secrets to purposeful, productive and profitable networking conversations? Join my free #conversationcall. Learn more at




  1. Liz, thanks for the blog post and the recorded “7 Secrets” call. I’ve added your blog to my blog list at Thanks, Doug

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