The art of asking questions

One sided conversations suck, right? We’ve all been there; we meet someone new, ask them a very basic question like “what do you do?” And 30-minutes later they take a breath cueing us to run away to “go to the bathroom.” At the same time, I would wager we have all probably been “that guy” at some point too. It’s situations like this where the art of asking questions is so important. Good questions create good conversation.

What’s fascinating is the phenomena of one-sided conversations isn’t just with strangers. I have found myself several times lately talking with friends and asking them questions about what is going on with them but never getting a single question back about my world. The conversation isn’t lop-sided by my friend talking nonstop, but it is very lop-sided in subject matter.

It occurs to me that most people don’t naturally ask thoughtful questions. There is an art in asking good questions that drive conversations and build deeper relationships. I think this is an art that is lacking in our culture, but can be learned. I want to write more on this topic soon, so let me close by asking you some questions:

  • Do you ask questions during conversation?
  • Are the questions that you ask generic (like “what do you do?”) or specific (like “what did you do for Spring Break?”)?
  • Do you know what is going on in the lives of the people you spoke with yesterday?
  • Do you want to know what is going on in the lives of the people you spoke with yesterday?
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