Sparking conversation: questions to ask to break the ice when networking

This past weekend my friend had a housewarming party in Hoboken. As I mingled with high school friends and met new acquaintances, I struck up a conversation with a professional baker. She had made a cake for the occasion and to liven up the conversation, I decided to ask her what she would create to be the next food fad.

I explained that if she could concoct something like the Starbucks unicorn drink, Cronut or galaxy bagel with edible glitter, what would her creation be, and why?

As I waited for her response, which never came because she said she would “really need to think her response over,” she told me I had asked a really good question.

I had thought so too. I had become quite good at thinking of thought-provoking, yet funny questions. Then I reminisced about my first round of Table Topics questions as Topics Master for Toastmasters.

When I introduced my topic, it rendered a few giggles and enticed some human resources colleagues to jump up to the stage to see what was going to go down.

My theme for the questions was the questions a hiring manager should really ask in an interview. Below is the list of questions and my introduction I prepared for the Toastmasters segment. Perhaps I will answer them in a later post. (Message me if you’d like to hear them!)


“We’ve all been on LinkedIn or perusing the abyss of the internet to come across articles about what a great CEO does or the seven habits of successful people. Though these are informative tidbits, I’ve came across one article that asked hiring managers, C-suite champs and others what are the best interview questions to ask if you really want to get to know an interviewee. Maybe they seem unlikely, especially when you visualize an executive asking a job prospectus: “what is your spirit animal?” Anyway, I have actually asked these to colleagues past and present, and now it’s your turn!”


1. What kind of nut are you and why?

2. Sadly, Publisher’s Clearing House is now defunct; along with the Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. You have the chance to revive the tradition of sweepstakes and games shows. What is your elevator pitch to your investors to get them onboard?

3. What vending machine snack (past or present) represents you?

4. If you could come up with one snack or candy that personifies you, what are the ingredients and what is it called?

5. Is Starbucks the Apple or Android of fast-service coffee and what does that make Dunkin Donuts, and why?

6. Would you rather be a villain or a hero (please name the fictional being) if you could rewrite the life story of any comic book character?

7. If you could have/afford a personal assistant in a specific area, what would it be in? Ex. Chef, trainer, chauffeur, stylist, etc.

8. What format would you have your life story chronicled in, and why? Ex. album, book, film, GIF, opinions column, jumbotron, etc.

9. If Disney Magic existed, what would be your desired professional career because you can set all the parameters?

10. What would the title of your biography book be?

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