Dumbest Networking Question

Many of you were taught that there aren’t any dumb questions. Sorry to spoil your fantasy, but there are plenty of dumb questions.

Three of my faves are:

  1. Excuse me, do you know what time it is?
  2. Hey mister, got any spare change?
  3. Honey, do you want to take out the trash?

These are dumb questions because the typical accurate answers should be:

  1. Yes,
  2. Yes, but not for you and
  3. No, why would I want to do that?

Probably not the responses the questioners had in mind.

And my all-time favorite networking dumb question is Do you have a business card?”  While perhaps innocent in its dumbness, it implies the possibility that someone would attend a networking event without business cards. Duhhh! While this does happen, why insult all people by assuming they might be that dumb.

And when people ask me that – and they do often – I sometimes let my inner Sicilian child out to play and respond with an enthusiastic, ‘Yes’, waiting to see if the other person got the subtle shot and making them then ask if they can have my card. Rude, I admit, but often fun.

The obviously better question is ‘May I have your card?’ Concise, clear and courteous.  While it still can be answered ‘No’, that doesn’t usually happen. And when you initiate the process, the better option is to ask ‘May I give you my card?’ rather than ‘Would you like my card?’ But even that is better than shoving one into someone’s hand without permission.