Bob Burg’s 10 Networking Questions That Work Every Time

My good friend, networking expert Bob Burg, has 10 questions he personally uses when networking that he believes every networker should memorize.

Bob explains that these questions are not designed to be probing or sales-oriented in any way; they are all friendly, fun to answer, and will tell you something about the way the person answering them thinks.  You’ll never need or have the time to ask all 10 questions during any one conversation but, still, you should internalize them.  Know them well enough that you are able to ask the ones you deem appropriate for the particular conversation and time frame.

Here are the 10 questions:

1.  How did you get started in the (______) business?

2.  What do you enjoy most about your profession?

3.  What separates you and your company from the competition?

4.  What advice would you give someone just starting out in the (______) business?

5.  What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

6.  What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

7.  What do you see as the coming trends in the (______) business?

8.  Describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business?

9.  What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?

10.  What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?

Like Bob says, you’re not going to get to ask more than a few of these questions during an initial conversation,  so don’t worry about sounding like you’re conducting an interrogation. These are feel-good questions people enjoy answering, and they are meant to establish an initial rapport.  So next time you’re at a networking event, try using a few of these questions and then come back and leave a comment about how using them worked out for you; I’m more than willing to bet you’ll be pleased with the results.

16 thoughts on “Bob Burg’s 10 Networking Questions That Work Every Time

  1. Bob – Love your article. Great questions. I would add one more question – if, when talking with someone with whom you feel a connection and would like to get to know better:

    “How may I help you?”

    Demonstrating a sincere interest in someone is a great way to let them know that you really are there for them if that’s what they want and that you are interested in working together. Networking is about building long-lasting business relationships (and more). To me, the journey begins with this question.

    1. Very well-said Larry James. I can totally tell that how much that one sentence changes one’s prospective about someone in a positive way.
      When a successful professional lady after shaking my hand said ” How can I help you?” I was very impressed and felt a close connection with her. It allowed me to speak more confidently with her.

  2. I have used Bob’s material in many of my presentations. In addition to the ten awesome questions listed, his educantional information about networking opportunities occurring almost every day, anywhere and any time, is fantastic! These opportunities can occur in places and times we may not realize. Some examples Bob talks about are at a PTA meeting, shopping mall, airplane- the list goes on and on!

    Remember you can network anywhere and anytime, even at a funeral! The key, as Ivan has mentioned before, is to honor the event!

    Following Bob Burg’s and Ivan’s advice will make you a Master Networker! So use some of these questions (I use them all the time because they are fun to answer) at the next networking event you attend and invest 99.9 percent of the conversation asking that person about himself and his business- and then watch what happens! The person will think he just had the best conversation in the history of mankind!

    Great post!

    Shawn McCarthy BNI ED Ventura County, Ca.

  3. Loved the article! It can sometimes feel so awkward when meeting other industry professionals, so these questions are definitely a big help. Can’t wait to see what other advice Bob Burg has to offer!

  4. Hey, it’s always good to learn new questions to ask people. The art of conversation is becoming an extinct skill, so if you have it, you have a distinct advantage.

  5. It’s great to see a few new (to me) questions in this list, so thanks for sharing Bob’s list Ivan! I’d like to add one of my favorites, as well as share a rephrasing of Larry’s:

    “Nice to meet you Bob. So, what are you working on these days?” This makes it possible for people to talk about business if they want to OR share their planning efforts for an upcoming vacation OR tell you about the book they are writing. The idea is to create conversation and learn something about the other person.

    And a great follow-up is, “What do you need help with these days?” It’s true, more often than not, most people at a networking event are there because they need help with something. I think it’s good “community service” (what I consider my networking efforts to be) to make it easy for people to ask for the help they need.

    Full disclaimer here – I’m the author of “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” and the writer of the Networking is Connecting column for

  6. Wanted to pop on and thank all of you for your kind comments.Please know that means a LOT to me. And, again, honored that Dr. Misner and the BNI team decided to cite my work.

  7. Hi Bob,
    I also found it helpful to think thru my answers to these 10 questions (and the added ones on here) so that I am ready for them at a network events. Being able to ask the questions is only half the battle.
    Thanks Again!

  8. Hi Dave. Thank you for your comment. Within the context and goal of this article, I believe the more important focus is on asking the questions (the 2 or 3 you would ask). Of course, there is a time and place for most everything and at the proper time it certainly is very important to know the answers to them from your standpoint, as well. I appreciate you Dave!

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