From Small Talk to Big Impact The Art of Asking Engaging Questions

From Small Talk to Big Impact
The Art of Asking Engaging Questions

Mastering the art of asking engaging questions is critical when networking. Shifting your focus from self-promotion to genuinely understanding the other person’s interests, challenges, and goals unlocks the potential for meaningful conversations and building deeper connections.

Asking the right questions is a powerful technique to initiate a conversation and gain valuable insights into the person. It’s time to move beyond generic questions like “How are you?” or “What do you do?” Instead, create thought-provoking questions to prompt people to share unique experiences (think restaurants and travel), aspirations, and perspectives. This approach allows you to uncover shared interests and establish a quick rapport to build mutually beneficial relationships.

Here are three tips to help you ask more engaging questions:

Show Genuine Interest:

When asking a question, ensure it comes from genuine curiosity. Inauthenticity will ruin any potential for building a meaningful connection. By demonstrating a sincere interest in the other person’s experiences, you increase your chances of establishing a positive connection.

Favorite question: What’s new and exciting in your world?

Listen Actively:

Once you’ve asked a question, practice active listening by absorbing their response. Avoid interrupting with your own thoughts or experiences. Instead, show engagement through non-verbal cues like making good eye contact, nodding your head, and ask insightful follow-up questions. Active listening enables you to gain a deeper understanding of the other person’s needs, aspirations, and challenges.

Key: Train your mind to listen with your eyes.

Focus on the Other Person:

Networking success hinges on shifting the focus from self-interest to the needs of others. By centering your questions around their specific interests, challenges, and goals, you lay the groundwork for cultivating lasting relationships. The key is in being genuinely interested in the other person rather than trying to sound interesting.

Favorite question: Who are you looking to meet at this event?

The art of asking engaging questions is an essential skill to create successful relationships and lasting connections. It’s a skill you can plan and prepare for, and like everything else we do, practice makes perfect. By genuinely showing interest, actively listening, prioritizing the needs of others, you will unlock valuable insights, establish deeper connections, and achieve greater success in your professional and personal life.

So tell me, what’s your favorite question to ask a new connection?

Derek Dickow specializes in turning people who think they hate networking into Power Connectors. He hosts networking events, leads 1:1 executive training, and offers corporate bootcamps designed to help organizations maximize success through networking. Derek knows that confident networking is a skill anyone can learn — and everyone needs. Download Derek’s free Networking Guide here.


I’m active on many social channels and would love to connect!

Ron Boji Meet the CEO

Ron Boji Meet the CEO

Q: Can you tell us about a defining moment in your career that has shaped your leadership style?
A: Becoming a leader is a process of growth, and nothing grows overnight – so choosing one specific moment that has led to my style of leadership is impossible. But ultimately, there is one specific challenge that has driven my leadership approach, and that is understanding how to manage both internal staff and external business partners/tenants. As a young leader, I viewed both of those categories as independent, but as I navigated those different types of relationships and reflected on what it takes to have both a successful internal team and successful relationships with my tenants, I realized that clear and effective communication is the key to every kind of relationship, and that’s the most important quality of my leadership style.

Q: What strategies have you found most effective in building and maintaining a strong company culture?
A: Our company culture is grounded in what we call “Louieisms”, which are a set of ideologies that me and my dad, Louie, built this company on:
Treat every member of our team, both internally and externally, as a family. This means communicating honestly and clearly and offering constructive criticism to constantly push each other to our fullest potential. Our employees are the backbone of our organization.

Work selflessly – putting the needs of others before our own. The best way to succeed is through helping others succeed. That’s why our staff is so close.
Strive to be ambitious through a positive attitude. Positive thoughts yield positive outcomes.
We always challenge one another to think big. As the saying goes, it takes the same amount of energy to think big as it does to think small.

Q: How do you balance the needs of your tenants with the goals of your business?
A: Simple: we put out tenants first. They’re our priority, and when they win, we win. We can’t succeed unless our tenants succeed. We are proud to put ourselves second – our tenants will always be #1.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
A: Embarking on a journey of success is a journey, and there are two questions one should ask themselves:
What does success mean to me? Everyone has a different definition of success, and defining your idea of success will help you develop the right goals and pave your path.
How can I make a difference for my family, my community, and the world? No matter how you define success, one thing will always be true: real success lies in giving.
Always prioritize who you are and who you want to be and remember that your word is your bond. Always be a person of your word.

Q: How has BG adapted to the challenges posed by changing market trends?
A: Nobody is infallible. No matter how experienced you are, you must always put in effort, especially in this market because it’s constantly changing. Our team navigates that by being extremely calculated in all the decisions we make. We measure every detail twice. We would rather walk in a straight line than run and trip over what we didn’t see coming.

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It’s easier than you think to network successfully – the secret is doing the bulk of the work beforehand. Download my Networking Guide now to unlock simple strategies to make the most of every networking opportunity.
It’s easier than you think to network successfully – the secret is doing the bulk of the work beforehand. Download my Networking Guide now to unlock simple strategies to make the most of every networking opportunity.

Derek discusses networking philosophy in The Detroit News

Derek discusses networking philosophy in The Detroit News

In a recent column of The Detroit News, columnist Karen Dumas highlighted Derek’s networking philosophy: Connect, don’t just collect contacts. “Networking elevates ourselves, our families, and our communities, as it is the platform for solving problems,” Derek told Dumas. He encourages people to foster authentic, meaningful connections that can reap enormous benefits both to you and your connection. The conversation appeared exclusively in the opinion section of the print edition of The Detroit News and is available to paid                subscribers here.

Derek emcees Chaldean American Ladies of Charity 2022 Timeless Hope Gala

Derek emcees Chaldean American Ladies of Charity 2022 Timeless Hope Gala

As an active member of the Chaldean American community in metro Detroit, Derek Dickow takes great pride in promoting his community and helping those in need. Derek emceed and assisted in organizing the annual Timeless Hope Gala to benefit the Chaldean community. Thanks to the organization’s collective hard work, the gala raised $100,000 more than its original fundraising goal!