A strong business is built on relationships. Connecting with customers, building a thriving team, maintaining good links with suppliers, widening your network … all hinge on the ability to develop and sustain relationships.

If we had to pick one ingredient that’s vital for business relationships, we’d plump for curiosity. Because, if you want to get to know someone, you have to show an interest in them. And if you can spark their interest in you at the same time, all the better.

With that in mind, here are 15 questions that will help you learn more about the people you do business with, and share more about yourself. Obviously, you wouldn’t use all of these at once – no one wants to feel like they’re being interrogated! – but the well-timed use of one or two of these questions will serve to break the ice or deepen relationships with people you’ve known for a while.

  1. What made you smile today?
  2. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, business or otherwise?
  3. What’s your favourite social media platform, and why?
  4. What’s your dream holiday destination? Anywhere in the world, money’s no object.
  5. What place or building would you love to have to yourself for a night?
  6. What’s your guilty pleasure TV or film?
  7. Where do you get your news?
  8. Who was your favourite teacher, and why?
  9. What was your favourite subject in school, and why?
  10. What’s your all-time favourite book?
  11. What’s the best purchase you’ve made in the last year?
  12. Did you ever have an imaginary friend?
  13. If you were a comic book character, what would your superpower be?
  14. What’s the spookiest thing that’s ever happened to you, or someone you know?
  15. What would you eat for your Death Row meal?

Importantly, do be prepared to reciprocate. In other words, use these questions as a springboard to sharing more about yourself, as well as learning about others, so that you can create a more open and warm dialogue.

We’d love to hear your best ice-breaker or relationship-building questions. So do tell us, what questions would you add to the list? What’s your favourite on the list, and which (if any) would you never dare to ask?

At OCTOPUS, we’re here to help you build better, more collaborative business relationships. Connect with us today.

(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

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