Networking and building relationships with people is one of the most essential things one needs to do to become successful. When you want to contact someone and meet up(newly met professional or old friend), you want to find a common interest to make the meeting pleasant and enjoyable for both. Maybe you both like golf. Maybe you would both like to visit a museum. But what if you don’t know what that person likes? In that case, there is a pretty universal common interest: food. Statistics show that most people deal with some sort of food one time or another in their lives. It also happens that most people like food. So it’s pretty safe to invite this person to a good food place when you don’t know enough about him/her. If the food is good, timing is possible, and maybe you’ll be treating them (and it’s worth it), most people wouldn’t mind getting some food and talking to you.
When you are talking to a new professional, make sure you don’t put too much focus on his or her professional information and forget about the personal things in his/her life. It doesn’t matter if they’re highly successful people, they’re still people, and until you show that you care about them as real people instead of their titles, you will have a hard time building a true relationship.
In regards to conversations, if you know the person likes something that you don’t, do not lie and
pretend you like it. You’ll lose any sense of credibility very soon. You could reveal that you do not know much about that topic but is interested to learn about it. That’s a good way to have a good conversation on something without needing much knowledge to it. Most people like explaining and teaching things they are passionate about, as long as you can keep yourself from drooling. However, besides having an open mind to learn, being genuinely concerned about the other person often helps in being more interested towards subjects that he/she is passionate about.
If you know what makes people smile, your day will turn out much better.