You’re at a networking event and you’ve just shared the smooth “elevator pitchâ€(see last week’s blog) you so carefully crafted. So has the person you’ve just met.

What’s next?

Sometimes, there’s this dreadful, awkward silence, where you both look at each other and nobody says anything. If that’s happened to you before, with what you’ll learn in this blog, that’ll be the last time!

Derived from my years as a newspaper reporter and in the decades of successful networking since then, I invite you to add the following set of questions to your post-elevator pitch experience.

Who-What-When-Where-Why and How.

These questions can break down the barriers and open up a meaningful dialogue. Personalize each one.

  • Who do you know here?
  • What part of your work do you enjoy most?
  • When did you move here/join your firm?
  • Where are you from originally?
  • Why did you decide to come here today?
  • How do you see your business/role changing in the coming year?
A group of people standing around each other.

Follow-up Statements

Of course, it’s not enough to just ask these critical questions. You also need to listen carefully to the answers and acknowledge what is said with an appropriate comment before moving on to another question.

  • That’s really interesting.
  • I wasn’t aware of this before.
  • Thanks for sharing what you’ve just said.
  • That’s cool. I had a similar experience with …
  • Wow! What a story,

When you focus your elevator pitch on the person in front of you along with asking the right questions, and actively listen to what they reply – magic can happen. Doors will open. And the whole world becomes a more welcoming, connected place.

Any presentations coming up soon?