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A-Z of networking Part 11 – The Q’s and R’s – Quality to Return

April 23, 2018


Hello and welcome


For first timers a brief introduction……


This A-Z has been compiled from sources gathered over the last 25 years – many before Google – it is by no means exhaustive or I trust exhausting; merely something that will help you get more from your networking.

Originally written or should I say compiled as a resource for members of Business Network SW and then developed into a series of seminars.  Now it’s the basis for a number of blog posts which I trust that you will find informative, useful and – dare I say, even worth sharing and ultimately even engage with.


I will serialise in posts over the coming weeks and months and it will develop as more knowledge and wisdom becomes available – which it undoubtedly will!

Thank you for reading this far – the next instalment will be available soon and please feel free to comment, share

A-Z Networking – previously

Part One @seanhumby  A-Z of #networking #BNSW

Out today.....Networking A-Z part II which is the C's & D's  #BNSW

C is for conversation & D is for Dale Carnegie - part 3  

A - Z of networking part 4 - the E’s & F’s 

Part 5 of the Networking A-Z - it’s the G’s & H’s

G is for genuine and H is for help it's part 6 of the Networking A-Z  

It's the I's and J's of the A-Z of #networking  

A-Z of Networking - the K's and L's   Part 8

Networking A-Z - the M's and N's - it’s part 9 

Part 10 - the O’s and P’s - optitude, opportunity and proxemics



Quality not quantity – networking is about building relationships not gathering business cards.  A quality conversation and dialogue will establish far more opportunity than an exchange of business cards.  Ask questions – see Bob Burg – listen, help, agree on next step even if it only a great to meet you note/email – not the newsletter, mailing list!


More thoughts on quality and not quantity

Why do you want to connect with this person/organisation?  What can you offer them and their network?

What are your long-term thoughts on this person – do not look at people as connections – they are people and that is where you can build the relationship.  Key is long term – not a quick “transactional sale” – see Lifetime Value

How will you benefit each other – a relationship needs to be mutually beneficial – and abundance theory comes in here – givers gain, what goes around comes around

A quality network of people means

  • You can interact on a deeper level – think about the questions you asked and the answers you got…. the things that are outside of business. This often makes the connections stronger and longer lasting, especially outside of the business world.
  • The time you spend generates results as you already know they want to be a part of what you have to offer and vice versa.  Not everyone will want to buy whatever you’re selling – maybe not instantly, maybe never but they will know what it is that you do and more importantly the benfits that you bring.
  • You have a higher success rate – not just measured in sales and cash – think of the information that you have picked up from your network, the time saved with the expertise that your network has to offer, the seminars, business enlightenment sessions that your network has put on and even the way in which your networks own network has helped you.
  • You have a solid following/network – If you take your time and you build a strong network, you will also build a network that will not be transient, vanishing when they have got waht they want. They are going to be a part of your network for a longer period of time, being there in the good times and also during the more challenging times

Questions – Ask Good Questions.

Good networkers are good conversationalists. They are especially good listeners.  And to do that, you often need good questions. You need to open people up and give them a safe platform to share their pain, problems, projects and plans. Only then can you help, sympathise, resource and connect.


How could you make your networking a better experience (for you and those that you meet) with the level and quality of questions you ask people in networking situations?

Here are some examples that will keep the conversation going and well beyond the one’s we always ask…..“Where are you from?” and “what brings you here today?” Inspired after reading article by Al Duncan

“How did you get involved in…?” Or “What made you decide to go into the business?” Or “How did you get your start in the business?”

People like to tell their story. Give them an opportunity to do so while you listen attentively (and no doubt come up with more questions, even common ground that you weren’t expecting!) and they’ll love you because you are being genuinely interested in them….

“What do you love/enjoy most about what you do?”

A positive question that keeps happy feelings in the air.  Never ask what they least like!

“What separates you from the competition?” Or “What separates your business/company/organisation from the competition?”

This question gives a person permission to talk about their unique abilities, the benefits that bring.  Don’t be challenging!

“What one thing would you do if you knew that you could not fail?” Or “What one thing would you do with your business if you knew that you could not fail?” Or “What one thing would you do if you knew you were guaranteed to succeed?”

This is a thought provoking and inspiring question to ask.  And answer, both for you and someone else.   Could also lead to insight into the challenges, oppportunities and possible barriers that the person is facing…..and then a great chance to get a further discussion arranged over coffee….the one to one.

“What significant changes have you seen take place in your business/profession/area of expertise through the years?”

Great question for cross-generational networking because it allows a person to reminisce about the good old days.  Also opens up a conversation about the latest information about their specific business sector…..”What do you see as the coming trends in your business/profession/area of expertise?”

And continuing the theme….as networking is not about you talking…and talking….and talking; it’s about listening and we know how good it feels when we know someone has listened to us…..



“If someone were to describe your business/company/organisation in one sentence what would they say?”

“What ways have you found to be the most effective for marketing your business/organisation/product?”

“It’s the end of a great week and you have a free weekend – what would you do?” another return to that happy place and a chance to find out more about their life outside business


And finally – this is the Bob Burg “million dollar question” “How would you describe the ideal client/customer/prospect/employee for your company/organisation?” – by asking this you will get invaluable information that will lead to you being able to recommend/refer others to them – abundance!


No one question (or series of questions) in the world will help you be a better, happier, more effective networker; you must be genuinely interested in the other person.



Quit – Or should I say “don’t quit”  Once you’ve decided to join a networking group give it time. Don’t give up in the early days. Be mindful that it takes 6-8 months to build strong relationships that will bring that return on your investment of time.

Quotations – see also Dr Seuss – many other luminaries have said something poignant and relevant – here’s a few that have delighted me…





Relationships are critical to business success. Networking and the conversations that you have are key to forming relationships. Randomly connecting with thousands of strangers online won’t help one bit – see Quality above

Be focused about it; one real, reliable relationship in the real world is worth a thousand online connections.  Think about the relationships that you have– are they inspiring or are they toxic?  Do they inspire you or sap the energy away?  Are the people givers or takers?  People only buy and recommend those they like and trust so identify who would be a good contact for you and for those that you meet.  Put aside the time and make the effort to really get to grips with their business so that you can help them – find a way – a good question or series of questions can be your greatest tool.

Remaining Open – Networking is all about opening your mind to other people and their businesses. It’s also about spotting new opportunities and possible areas of cooperation in surprising places. If you network effectively, you cultivate a culture of openness that will ultimately benefit both your business and yourself.  If you are struggling to feel open?  Remind yourself that you are here to listen and learn, not just pitch – in fact don’t even pitch!


Return on Investment – Networking can give you resources that help you build a better business- often at no cost to you.  Please do not get totally hung up on ‘ Have  I got my money’s worth from my subscription’ instead ask yourself  ‘ Have I gained value from being a member’  The people who understand this concept are the true networking winners.  The secret is that networking is a process that requires constant effort and commitment to get the desired results.  What knowledge have I gained and shared; what ideas have I got; what partnerships have been created; what people have I been introduced to…there is a separate article here that you may find useful!


If you would like to connect then you can find me on



Have a great day and enjoy your networking and make it enjoyable and beneficial for those that you meet!


Sean Humby – event host and writer of the A-Z

Sean Humby

Director and host – Business Network (SW) – monthly lunch time networking events in Bristol.

Business Network SW was established in 1993 and for the last 25 years has been helping businesses build effective business relationships.


To book your place at an event in Bristol

Call 01981 540708



with “book my place for Bristol” and I will arrange everything – how to prepare, confirmation, any dietary requirements and your invoice


Prefer an invitation then complete your details here

Previous A-Z Networking blog posts

Part One @seanhumby  A-Z of #networking #BNSW

Out today…..Networking A-Z part II which is the C’s & D’s  #BNSW

C is for conversation & D is for Dale Carnegie – part 3  

A – Z of networking part 4 – the E’s & F’s

Part 5 of the Networking A-Z – it’s the G’s & H’s

G is for genuine and H is for help it’s part 6 of the Networking A-Z  

It’s the I’s and J’s of the A-Z of #networking  

A-Z of Networking – the K’s and L’s   Part 8

Networking A-Z – the M’s and N’s – it’s part 9

Mindset, mistakes and names – part 9

Part 10 – the O’s and P’s – optitude, opportunity and proxemics


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