• Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search

Why Asking “What Do You Do?” Isn’t the Only Way to Break the Ice


The vital ingredient to building a robust professional network is intentionality. That intentionality manifests itself from the way you initially connect with others to the way you value your coworkers to the way you stay in touch with colleagues.

David Burkus writes in the Harvard Business Review about one of the best ways to start conversations out on the right foot by asking something other than “what do you do?” Burkus explains, “that question might not be the best way to build rapport with someone else. In fact, it may be best to avoid talking about work entirely.”

Some of our favorite questions he suggests instead are:

What excites you right now?

Is there a charitable cause you support?

What’s the most important thing I should know about you?

Read the rest of his alternate suggestions in the article here.