Improve Your Networking: Problem and Solution Questions (3 of 3)

Ask questions that allow respondents to brag.

You have shifted your networking attitude to focus on YOU, the other person, and become a curator of resources.

You’ve executed a pre-event marketing plan to build a welcoming committee among the officers of the host organization. At the networking event, you’ve asked them to tell you more about the organization and themselves.

Now it’s time to become acquainted with other event attendees, by posing get-to-know-you Problem and Solution Questions:

How do you help people (or companies): save time, save money, make more money or get more joy from life?

  • Most businesses offer products and services that save time or money. Or perhaps they build wealth for individuals and companies. Consider that a spa owner or a restaurateur brings joy, enhancing one’s leisure time. Asking this question helps you learn more about the new contact.

What was the highlight of the past year (quarter) for you in helping a client?

  • This gives the speaker an opportunity to brag. Make it clear you want to know what the person (not the team) did for a client, something that would not have occurred without her role.

That sounds hard. How do you do that?

  • Ask this question about any aspect to prompt the contact to provide more specifics and explain the process.

Who are you looking to meet (here)?

  • As a curator of resources, you will likely have a suggestion for an introduction to a potential vendor or client, or even someone else in the room.

How might I be a resource to you?

  • This opens the door for you to follow up with the contact, by sharing a newsletter you wrote, an article you read or an invitation to a meeting.

This Month’s Tip

Posing Problem and Solution Questions will highlight the types of issues that the respondent likes to tackle, the approaches she offers and the clients she targets. Based on the answers, you may determine how this person meshes with your contacts and resources. If you simply want to chat, ask “Are you originally from Name of City?” That straight-forward inquiry may lead to all sorts of talk about what brought the person to this city — or perhaps why they stayed local — and you can find common ground from there.


This may be your first time at an event held by an organization, or perhaps you might be a frequent attendee. Either way, asking problem and solution questions will yield pathways for further exploration and strengthen your connection to the acquaintance you meet. Contact me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me Let’s consider some groups where you can meet new contacts and build your resources.

This is the third in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The first discussed an attitude of focusing on YOU, the person to whom you might be a resource and who, in turn, might be a resource for your contacts. The second outlined a pre-event marketing strategy to contact the leaders of an industry or membership organization in advance of a networking event. Use these tips in combination to strengthen your networking skills.

Click here to request the e-book Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Thanks to Tiffany Ashitey and Tasha Morris of The Benchmark Creative Group. Their invitation to speak at Brooklyn Marketing Week was the impetus to crystallize my approach to networking.