How to ask better questions for great conversations

The past few new years, Instead of making a decision, I have been writing an intention for each different area of ​​my life. Not exactly a goal, it is more a reminder to myself, telling me how I hope to grow in work, family, health, etc. This year, next to the “Relations” category, I wrote this: “Ask better questions and practice deeper listening.” Because figuring out how to ask better questions is not intuitive for everyone!

I know that really showing up for the people I love means that our conversation must be a place where they feel valuable and listened to.

My struggle is not because I am not interested in what they have to say-I am really interested.But sometimes my monkey brain goes from one idea to another too fast, I get distracted, it’s just miss The key part of what they said. Or, even if I heard it on the surface, I didn’t listen deeply to understand the deep meaning behind their words.

As i wrote before More and more curious, I remembered my favorite class in high school. Working with Mr. Stover is AP Literature-he is considered one of the toughest teachers in the school. I liked that course mainly because we learned how to use Socratic methods to decode poems and novels that I thought was impossible when I first read it. (wasteland Author: TS Eliot, anyone? ) We will go around the table and spend an hour asking and answering questions that will help us think more critically and come up with new ideas.

The power of the question has been bothering me, but finding out which ones are best for dialogue requires a high level EQ-And a lot of practice. So let’s get started.

First, actually listen.

We all encountered this situation when we were telling stories, and another person asked a semi-random question, indicating that they were only half listening. Or, we ourselves are the perpetrators because we are confused in our conversations. Either way, it doesn’t feel very good.

By training yourself to really Listen to When another person is talking, it naturally asks good questions from genuine curiosity.

ask more problem.

according to Harvard Business Review, Most of us have not asked enough questions. The research they cited showed that “the most common complaints people make after a conversation (such as an interview, first date or work meeting) are’I want her to ask me more questions’ and’I can’t believe she didn’t ask me any questions. ‘”

Simply asking questions not only paves the way for understanding the unexpected things of the other person; there is no better way to increase harmony than being someone interested in others. course? Even if the exact way you ask questions needs work, just ask more questions and you will be one step ahead.

I like the example in the comments: “Tell me how you came to live in Austin. What do you like best to do here?”

Other important issues include:

  • Do you have new hobbies or habits that you plan to start to maintain during the pandemic?
  • What is the best vacation you have ever had? why?
  • If you had the opportunity to start your entire career from scratch, what would you do?
  • What are your three favorite karaoke songs? why?
  • Who was your first celebrity obsession? Do you think they influenced the kind of people you still attract?
  • Do you remember the first favorite book? Is it still one of your favorites?

Ask follow-up questions.

This approach changed my relationship with Henry (by the way, if you really listen to them, kids will have a good radar.) By asking, “Why do you say that?” or “This makes you How do you feel?” He could feel my real involvement, and I actually concern About what he shared.

In other words, it proves to another person that they are being heard, which shows on a deeper level how much you value them. In Henry’s case, when I asked him these types of questions, he was unlikely to collapse or feel frustrated because I had a deeper understanding of his views and could respond accordingly.

The next time you talk to someone, they are a little vague. Don’t just accept and continue. Try to ask, “What do you mean by this?” I promise that just doing this will change your conversation instantly. Better.

Consider supplementing these common questions to trigger a more meaningful conversation:

  • how are you today? What is the best part?
  • How is your mother? How is her life recently?
  • Can you help me understand better?
  • What prompted you to do this/say that?
  • How does this work in your daily life?
  • Do you think you will change your mind?

Ask open-ended questions.

This is what I really saw when I interviewed us Sommelier with morning Call Years of talent. When I ask closed questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no,” the answer not only makes people yawn, but when I walk away it feels as if I haven’t learned anything about the other person.

But when i choose one Open-ended question This requires them to elaborate, and the answers often surprise me and make me (happily) want more (see “follow-up questions” above.) boxes. It conveys that we will make time for their complete answers and invite others to share them fully in an unhurried manner.


  • What is your favorite thing to happen since our last conversation?
  • What are your thoughts on…?
  • What is your favorite encounter?
  • How did it feel to eat out last time? What makes it so special?

Restrain the urge to interrupt.

Well, this one is specifically for me.Honestly-I don’t miss you Interrupt, I really didn’t, but I was often very excited or wanted to share what I “got” what the other person said. I interrupted before they finished speaking.

The end result (other than being annoying) is that they feel rushed, or the direction of the conversation is different from where they are going. Show some respect (Camille!) I’m trying to adapt to a moment of silence and let my ego take a back seat in the conversation, so that I’m “Seeking to understand more than I seek to be understood. “


If you want to prove more about the power of asking good questions, please read This “Modern Love” article Assertion: Mutual vulnerability promotes intimacy. To quote the author of the study, “A key model related to the development of close relationships between peers is continuous, escalating, mutual, and personal self-disclosure.” The 36 questions they used in the experiment were some Very good thought enlightener, I plan to think about it in future conversations.

What is your favorite question to ask someone you want to know better?

This article was originally published on July 25, 2019 and has since been updated.

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