The Best Networking Advice 

I’m a big fan of author Susan Cain’s book Quiet, about the power of introverts, and her subsequent Quiet Revolution movement, so it was only natural I would write up an article for her site about why and how quiet people should embrace their gifts for listening and asking thoughtful questions.

It really struck a chord with Susan, with her titling my article “The Best Networking Advice I’ve Seen Yet” and writing this note to her readers:

Dear Friends,

If you’re an introvert, have you ever noticed that you tend to be good at asking questions? Do you ever feel that this is just a weakness of yours, something you fall back to when other conversational options seem exhausted? Have you ever wondered how to frame questions like the thoughtful and skilled conversation partner you are (or could be)?

In this article written for the Quiet Revolution community, Warren Berger, author of The Book of Beautiful Questions, contributor to the New York Times, and “Questionologist” column writer, explains how and why questioning is the quiet person’s “secret weapon.”


As a little sample from what I wrote, below are 7 bullets from my article, but please stop by the site for the whole article, with stats and anecdotes, at The Best Networking Advice

7 Questions to Better Connect with Others

  1. What are you most excited (or passionate) about these days? Much better than What do you do for a living? or What are you up to these days?, because it invites someone to cut to what they’d really like to talk about.
  2. What made you laugh today? Use this instead of How was your day? It’s more specific and focuses on something fun to share.
  3. What have you always wanted to try? Try this not only on new acquaintances but old friends, too—you may be surprised at what you learn. (And be sure to follow it up with, What’s stopping you?).
  4. What problem do you wish you could solve? Leave it open enough that the person can talk about anything from saving the world to shedding a few pounds.
  5. And What Else? Known as the “AWE question,” it serves as an all-purpose follow-up query. Use AWE to try to draw out additional ideas and thoughts. You can ask it repeatedly, but by the third time, signal that you’re going to stop by rephrasing the question as, Is there anything else?
  6. What’s at the top of your list to accomplish today—and is there anything I can do to help? Use this with a spouse, a friend, or your boss at work. They will love you for it.
  7. Why Am I Talking? The “WAIT question,” sometimes used by therapists, is one you should occasionally ask yourself, silently, as a reminder to keep listening to what the other person is telling you instead of interjecting too quickly.


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About the Author

Innovation expert and questionologist Warren Berger has studied hundreds of the world’s foremost innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions, generate original ideas, and solve problems. He is the author or co-author of 12 books, including his three books on questioning: A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas; its follow-up THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead; and BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS IN THE CLASSROOM: Transforming Classrooms Into Cultures of Curiosity and Inquiry. Warren’s writing has appeared in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, and he writes the “Questionologist” blog for Psychology Today. He lives in Mount Kisco, New York. Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts

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