If you're introverted (like me), you may find it difficult to connect with people at social gatherings. If you're extroverted, you face a different challenge--your outgoing personality may run roughshod over people you'd like to know better.

Not to worry. There's help for all of us.

At the Reader's Legacy awards last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with Larry Benet, who is the co-founder of SANG Events, which feature speakers like Tony Hsieh, Tony Robbins, and Jack Canfield.

I think it's fair to say that Larry Benet knows just about everybody who's anybody in the business world. With that in mind, here are Larry's seven easily memorized questions to move a conversation from chitchat into something meaningful:

  1. What do you do for fun?
  2. What are you most passionate about?
  3. What's your favorite cause or charity?
  4. What's your guilty pleasure? (And why?)
  5. What in your life makes you the most proud?
  6. What's on your bucket list?
  7. In case I can refer business to you, who is your perfect client or partner?

I practiced these questions with a stranger at the event, and within a few minutes I felt like I knew him better than people I've known for decades. Just as important, as I answered the same questions, I felt as if this person "got" who I am.

It was truly amazing.

Try these questions next time you're at a party or a trade show, and if your experience is anything like mine, you'll find yourself connecting with people at a deeper level than you ever thought possible.

While these questions work in any social situation, they're especially valuable in business because they build enough rapport so that you can ask what Larry calls the "million dollar" question:

"What is the most important project or goal that you are working on, in case I or someone in my network can help you?"

That single, simple question gets to the core of every great customer relationship--which is finding ways to be of service. Get an answer to that question, and you've made a business connection that can change your entire future.