What Are Good Questions To Ask During Coffee Chats?

Asking the right questions is crucial to the success of your networking attempts. If the goal is to get a job or build a connection with the other person, they're much more likely to help if you ask interesting and thoughtful questions.

Here are the three main criteria that every question you ask should pass:

As a general rule, ask questions you can't find online. If you can effortlessly search for the answer to the question on Reddit, why are you even talking with this person in the first place?

You Can't Find the Answer Online

This ties in with the first criterion, but your question should be specific to the person you're chatting with. What this means is that they should be uniquely situated to provide an answer to this question.

Specific to The Person You're Chatting With

Overexaggerated example: “what are several feet surgeons in Minnesota?” You might not be able to find the answer to this question online. Still, unless the person you're calling is a pediatric statistician working out of Minnesota, it's not specific to them.

A question that's too easy will show that you haven't given any thought to the chat. On the contrary, a question that's too hard will probably piss the person off (why should I spend the time to answer this question for this stranger?)

Not Too Easy, Not Too Hard

An example of a question that you “can't find online” and also that's “specific to the person you're chatting with” but is too easy would be something like: “Do you enjoy your work?”

Something which sounds virtually the same but is a much better question to ask is: “what are some aspects of your job that you enjoy and dislike and dislike?”

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