People do business with those they like and trust. Below is a list of just a few questions you could use to get someone to open up about themselves. Use these as an ice-breaker to find common ground.

Location Questions

  • I see that you’re in [city]. What’s the best part about living there?
  • Is it true what they say about living in [city/state]? (For example, “Is it true what they say about living in L.A.? Are the freeways essentially parking lots?”)
  • Since you live in [city/state], do you go to [local attraction] all the time?
  • I have such good memories of [city/state] -- I visited when I was X years old and absolutely loved [destination/feature]. What do you think about [destination/feature]?
  • If I had the opportunity to pass through [city/state], what would be your top recommendations?
  • Is [city/state] a good location for [customer’s industry/company/profession]?
  • I’ve heard [nearby restaurant/city/state] has amazing [food item]. Does it deserve the hype?
  • What's your commute like? (Do you drive, take public transit, carpool, etc.)
  • What brought you to [city/state]?
  • What's something most people don't realize about [city/state]?
  • Are there a lot of companies in [customer's industry] in [city/state], or are you guys fairly unique?
  • Is [city/state] where your company is located, or do you work remotely?

Job and Career Questions

  • My [niece/son/grandchild] wants to become a [profession]. Do you have any advice I should pass on?
  • I saw you used to work in [different field/profession/industry]. How was the transition? 
  • Do you go to [well-known industry event]? Why/why not? 
  • You tweeted about going to [conference] -- have you been before? I’m debating whether or not to go, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. 
  • My friend used to work at [current or former company]. Do you know [name]? 
  • What was it like working there? 
  • As a rep for [company], I talk to a lot of people in [customer’s profession], but you’re the first I’ve met who’s ever majored in [unexpected major]! How’d that happen? 
  • I read on your LinkedIn that you spoke at [event] -- really impressive. Do you have any future speaking events lined up? 
  • I noticed you have your X certification. What was the process of getting that like? 
  • On your LinkedIn profile, you listed [unusual skill] under your Skills. How often does that come in handy? 
  • You’re fluent in [second language], right? 
  • Wow! Do you travel to [country] fairly often? 
  • Do you use [language] in your work? 
  • Is there a third language in your future? 
  • What's your favorite aspect of your job? 
  • Many of my clients in [customer's role] tell me [X detail about job]. Has that held true in your experience? 
  • I'd love to learn more about [customer's role]. Are there any resources you'd recommend? 
  • Why did you decide to work in [customer's field]? 
  • My [niece/son/grandchild] wants to become a [profession]. Are there any subjects you'd suggest majoring in? 
  • What job would you want if you weren't a [customer's profession]? 

School and Interest Questions 

  • You’re an alum of [college]! My friend graduated from [college] in [year]. They said it was really X … (Or, “I’ve never met anyone who went to [college] before! What was it like? Would you send your kids?”) 
  • I noticed on LinkedIn that you help out with [organization]. How’d you get started with that? 
  • Saw on Twitter that you’re a massive [sport] fan. Are you looking forward to [related event]? 
  • In your LinkedIn summary, you mention loving [activity]. How long have you been doing that? 
  • Just noticed you attended [school]. What was it like going to college [in the South/on the West Coast/in a big city/in a small city/etc.]? 
  • While I was preparing for our conversation, I noticed you follow [influencer] on LinkedIn. What did you think of their ideas on [topic]? (Alternatively, “Did you read their book?”)
  • I saw you follow [influencer] on Twitter -- I do, too. Did you see what they wrote the other day about [topic]? 
  • I saw on LinkedIn you attended [college]. My [niece/son/grandchild/family friend] was thinking of applying. What was your experience like? 
  • Do many people from [college] end up in [customer's current location]? 
  • Would you go back to [college] again for a graduate degree? 
  • Are there any leaders in your space you'd recommend following?                     

Company Questions 

  • Congrats on [recent company announcement]! How long was that in the works? 
  • I saw [company] won [award] recently -- way to go. Did you submit an entry, or were you unaware your team was up for consideration? Who were you competing with? 
  • Your company just [opened up/moved to] a new office, right? What’s the [neighborhood/city] like? 
  • I saw on Twitter [you/your company] just started using [non-competitor product]. We were thinking of trying that one out -- what’s been your experience so far? 
  • Your company’s retreat photo came up on Instagram. Did you like [destination]? What was the highlight of the trip? 
  • I was browsing your company’s site when I came across the blog. I loved [your/your coworker’s/your CEO’s] post about [topic]; what do you think about [related topic]? 
  • I came across [company's] social media accounts while I was preparing for our call. It seems like a [fun, interesting, fast-paced] place to work. What do you think? 
  • I learned about [company's] unique tradition of [doing X] on [your company blog, social media]. How did that tradition begin? 
  • I learned about [company's] unique tradition of [doing X] on [your company blog, social media]. Is that your favorite tradition? 
  • Your company seems to host [online events, customer events, recruiting events, philanthropic events, industry events] fairly often. Are you involved in those?                                     

Random Questions 

  • I read on [LinkedIn/Twitter/your blog/etc.] that you think [opinion]. I feel the same way -- but I’m always curious to learn how other people formed their opinions. How’d you come to this one? 
  • You seem to have a pretty busy schedule. Do you have any productivity tips? 
  • It seems like you’re fairly busy -- do you use apps to stay organized? I’ve been looking for a good one, so recommendations would be helpful. 
  • You seem like someone with good Netflix picks. What have you enjoyed recently? 
  • Have you read any good books lately?         

Content- and Activity-Based Questions 

  • You recently tweeted a link to [podcast/radio show]. Have you listened to [specific episode/similar show]? (This question also works for books, movies, and TV shows.) 
  • I loved what you [blogged/shared] the other day about [topic]. Have you read [related article]? 
  • Since you’re interested in [topic]; I was wondering if you’d read [book on topic]? 
  • I saw that you tweeted about [author/book name] -- I’m looking for a new read, should I try [author/book name]? 
  • I’m putting together a list of great blogs for [customer’s industry]. Do you have any recommendations? 
  • I’m putting together a list of must-read blogs for any [customer’s profession]. Which ones do you like? 
  • I’m buying a book for someone’s [milestone year] birthday. Do you remember reading anything around that time that really changed your life? 
  • I saw on [LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook] you're interested in [topic]. Do you have any related documentary recommendations? 
  • I saw on [LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook] you're interested in [topic]. How did you [learn about, come across] that [topic, field]? 
  • Do you subscribe to any newsletters about [topic, industry, product category]? 
  • I read the [article, blog post, interview, white paper, ebook] you shared on [topic] on [LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.] What did you like about it?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
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