The "Spare Time" Question
There are certain questions
you can expect to be asked at any networking event, that you should always have
the answers to, before you go.
What do you do for a
Where are you from?
What do you like to do in
your spare time?
I asked a student, "What
do you like to do in your spare time?"
He said, "What do you mean? All I do is study."
Another student said, "I like to sleep."
That's also a common
interview question. If you are interviewing, get a hobby.
I do a listening exercise
with groups, where participants ask each other the "spare time"
question, then repeat something back the other person has said.
Let's say the answer is,
"I like to read books and compete in triathlons."
The listener might say, "So you like to read. What are you currently
Or, "You compete in triathlons. Where is your next competition?"
Then I ask, "Can anyone
tell me about an interesting hobby of someone you just met?" Recent
responses included a person who participated in Civil War reenactments, an
artist who drew graphic novels and someone learning to play guitar from YouTube
Then I tell them, "This
exercise is to show you how to use information you gather from people to
introduce them to others with similar interests." The information is used
to bridge the conversation between the two, so they can begin their own
I once introduced two people
who both had season tickets to the New York Jets and they ended up getting
married. (Not sure whose seats they ended up in.)
Go to networking events with
the answers to common questions in your mind. Ask questions of people and
bridge the conversation with others.
After that, you can sleep.
Culture and Manners Institute