Wondering how to generate a conversation?
Here are seven questions to create different types of dialogue:
- What’s on your mind? This question could be used to probe deeper or to get an interesting conversation started. It’s a great way to open things up when you are curious what someone’s expression is really telling you.
- What do you ask when someone shares, but it seems like there could be more? Try this: …and what else?” or “is there more?” Many people stop talking if they sense a simple answer is all you’re listening for. Sometimes the best answers are beyond their initial response.
- What’s the real challenge for you? Use this to help focus and dig in when someone is meandering in their thinking and speaking. Often, people will zero in if the question helps narrow the scope when things aren’t working.
- What do you want? This is a great question when someone is dealing with an issue. Once you know what you want, it’s about deciding on actions between where you are and what you want.
- How can I help? This is particularly helpful if someone is struggling to sort through an incredible number of tasks. If they’re truly overwhelmed, don’t ask, do something – they’ll love you for it because it can feel like one more thing to figure out what you could do. As Nike says, just do it.
- If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to? This can help simplify what’s going on, realize the trade offs being made, and clarify priorities. It’s great help for people who say yes too often.
- What was most useful to you? This opens the door to learning. When people move from concept to action, learning takes place. Follow up asking how people will use what they’ve learned.