I said, “…”, nothing and just stared for 2 seconds. Then walked our separate ways.
Here are some very simple ways to help you ask more open-ended questions:
- Start a question with “What do you think about…” this signals very clearly that you want more than a simple one-word answer.
- Another good starting phrase is “Tell me about…”. These words also send a signal that you are passing the ball over to the other person and expect them so say a little more than the bare minimum. Great ones that work for me are: “Tell me how you chose this career?” or “Tell me about your home city”.
- Another great trick is to follow up a short answer with a “Why?”. For example, if the question was “What do you think about the candidates in this election?” and you get back “Not much”, then you can simply follow up with “Why?” or “Tell me more”
- Smile + “hi”
- Nod + “hi” (that smile usually goes away by the afternoon)
“What brings you here?” – I like the tone, keeps it open-ended. As opposed to do you work here, what do you do, etc. along those same lines.
“What’s new or interesting with ______?” – insert name of workplace, organization, or sumn for context
Trying New Additions:
- “What keeps you busy at work?” – better than, “so what do you do?”
- “What keeps you busy outside of work?” – digs deeper and then I can talk about DeenUP Athletics :)
- “Tell me about ____?” – how you started working at X, how you met Y, when you learned Z, etc.
As I re-read that, it occurred to me that most of what I use now are conversation openers and new additions are continue-ers. Natural progression I suppose, like a shift from building rapport to relationships. Insight received.