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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Questions to Ask At A Meeting That Includes a Meal", by Maria Masala

I know that you, my readers will not believe this, but I'm an introvert. And I know that it's not easy being an introvert and a successful business owner, too.

Being known locally, even if you have a virtual business, is something every business owner must do to build credibility and a stellar reputation. Even the Internet Guru's attend networking meetings and speak to groups as a way to market their online business.
Attending a meeting of an organization or association may mean three types of networking opportunities - pretty overwhelming and nerve racking for an introvert who is not prepared.

There might be networking time before the meeting and usually that's the time to get to know about someone's business.

Then there is sit down time; where most likely "someone" will be in charge of making sure that everyone does a roundtable introduction (your elevator speech in 2 minutes maximum) as your cards are passed around the table.

The socializing part with people who are sitting next to you.

Below questions you can ask, as you sit at a table specifically to eat and wait to hear a speaker. These questions are more personal than the questions we'd ask in a situation that is more about networking. So often we forget to ask more personal questions of people. And we loose the opportunity to connect with them on a deeper, more personal level - a level that's not about "the sale." Now of course a few of the questions below are more business-like; however, if you'd like a listing of questions to ask during the networking part of a meeting, questions that will help you pre-qualify who you're speaking with, then visit The Top 10 Questions To Ask At A Networking Meeting
1. Where do you live? How long have you lived there?
2. Tell me about yourself.
3. How did you find out about this meeting?
4. What did you do before you started your business?
5. What other meetings or groups do you attend during the month? Has attending them helped your business?
6. What sort of things do you do in your personal time?
7. Where do you volunteer?
8. What's the most important thing you've achieved in your life?
9. What goals are you reaching for personally?
10. Do I have your permission to send you a complimentary copy of my online newsletter? (If they freely give your their business card)
11. Would you like to meet for a cup of coffee?

If you suggest a meeting then it's your responsibility to pay for the coffee or meal you suggested. You both may decide differently at the event; but you've taken the lead and that's proper business etiquette.

Enjoy this article? It's part of the of "Stop Turning Clients Off" program on June 13. Learn more now, by clicking here

©2006 A former Wall Street trader, Maria Marsala is a nationally known author, strategist, trainer and owner of Elevating Your Business. Maria helps with financial, technology and other independent service-related businesses companies accelerate profits and improve productivity -- faster. Learn more now at
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wdk102bucks said...

From One Introvert to Another:

Thanks, Maria!

For other great ways to take your mind off yourself while networking,
Take a look at the following sites:
Danielle Hampson's T.A.N.
and Bonnie Ross-Parker & Dawn Billings' The Joy of Connecting

The Joy of Connecting is a women's only group. But all three ladies are truly inspirational and worth the cost of a call or certainly a cyber visit.

Laura Sultan (paramaya) said...

Fantastic advice, Maria. I am also an introvert so I find it far easier to break the ice by asking questions of others. One that I like to ask is "So how did you get into [insert business here]?".

I'm attending a chamber of commerce lunch tomorrow so I'll be keeping your advice in mind. Thanks!

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