We wanted to bring this blog topic back and give it a good refresh because it’s just that important. Asking better, and more compassionate, questions can lead to far more enjoyable conversations and outcomes. From tips on brainstorming good questions to smart resources and a whole lot more, we compile articles, blogs, and videos to help you challenge how you ask questions.
The Importance of good questions
Questions are the way we connect with others and learn more about them. And that goes for friends, family, partners, and coworkers. The way we shape a question sets the tone for a conversation and it’s important to recognize how you can elevate a connection simply by asking questions in a kind, respectful, and open way.
Not sure what we mean or what a well organized question looks like? Just check out some of the cards from our games How Do You See The World? and Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? to get some ideas. This is a great place to start if you need some simple and accessible visuals.
Questions at work
Two professors at the Harvard Business School discuss what makes a great question and how it’s important to think about what outcome you want: do you want that person to like you or are you trying to get more information about an issue? You can listen here or read the transcript for some great information. And you may want to check out their article, too, The Surprising Power of Questions.
If you’ve already checked out that article from the last time we covered this topic, then consider this great article (and exercise!) for changing the way you shape questions at work. Stephen Shapiro walks readers through an exercise that makes a powerful point about how we tend to shape our questions.
And for even more in-depth discussion of the kinds of questions we can ask, turn to this article in Ascend called Relearning the Art of Asking Questions.
Asking friends deeper questions
As this great blog post explains, “asking appropriate and open-ended questions, mixed with some of your own comments and observations, is the formula for lively conversation.” And that’s just the beginning of some solid advice for practicing mindfulness in social situations.
Perhaps you are tired of the general small talk questions at most social events: so what do you do? Do you have any hobbies? How about that game last night? If so, then this list helps you think outside the box to cut through small talk and get genuine, interesting conversations started with anyone.
The Kitchn also provides a great and accessible list of questions to ask if you are meeting an old friend and just need something new to spark that exciting chat again. You can never know everything about someone, even our oldest friends, so consider this list to bring a little excitement to your next dinner out.