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“Have you got any children?”

In our networking skills training we suggest the best way to build relationships is to show interest in others by asking questions.
The best way to do this is through small talk. Hobbies, holidays, general interest, business of course, current events and family
BUT BUT BUT
Never directly ask anyone
“Are you married?” or
“Have you got any children?”
Only last week I ran a seminar and a delegate wrote to me today to say

On a personal note, I would wholeheartedly endorse your prohibition on questions about family. I have a lovely adopted daughter. However, for many years the question “Do you have children?” was distressing, particularly when followed up by clever comments about being sensible when my response was no. As you say, leaving others to volunteer information about their personal circumstances is much the better approach.

My friend Roger responded recently on a seminar in a similar way when he said after his daughter died it took him 3 years before he went out scared of being asked “Have you got any children?” He said he didn’t want to say 2 and ignore his deceased child or say “i have 2 but used to have 3”.
By all means mention your family and virtually every time the other person will tell you about theirs. Then you’re off on to a great topic to build a relationship

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