Sharing words, thoughts, and even the experience of conversing are all powerful forces that affect interpersonal relationships. When we talk, we connect. And when we’re connected, we have the chance to do great things.
Whether you’re a stylist with a client, a politician pressing palms and trying to win votes, or a newbie at a job, figuring out how to make connections with the people are around is key.
You don’t usually go up to people who you don’t have an established connection with and–yadda yadda yadda–start talking. You’ve gotta lay the groundwork for conversation.
By asking questions.
After all, as American novelist Thomas Berger said: The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge. Questions open the door to possibilities, and if we can ask better ones, we can get better results.
Now, let me introduce 7 great questions to start a conversation:
What are you getting into this weekend?
This is a favorite of my favorite stylist (the best stylist in Dallas) because it’s open-ended & talks about a topic people usually like: the weekend.
The phrasing is different than the boring ol’ “Do you have any plans this weekend?” & denotes a sense of friendly curiosity. Plus, it allows for snappy banter or playfulness if they have a god comeback. And you could always provide the levity with answers like: “Bed!” or, “Trouble…”
Have you ever had something happen to you that defies explanation?
These are just fun stories to tell.
Bonus points if it’s a ghost story.
Pets, kids, or both? …or neither?
This question & ones similar to it provide a basis for relating to the other person. That’s what conversation is about: creating a bond.
By sharing these types of details, you can start to learn more about what the other person’s life is like, and why.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Again, this is a way to relate, will bring up more topics of conversation, & is always an amusing subject (ahh… youth).
If you could learn the answer to one question about your future, what would the question be?
This is the type of question that reveals a lot about a person’s deeper feelings. Their answer about the future may reveal their present insecurities or questions, and it definitely says something about their interests.
What’s your secret talent?
Wverybody’s got something. Maybe it’s playing the flute. Maybe they can roll their stomach. Either way, there are tons of follow-up questions that will keep the convo rolling… But, if you’re gonna ask, be prepared to share yours!
Picture yourself in an auditorium. What kind of show are you there to see?
This, again, is a way to get to know how a person “works”… their answer will provide a glimpse into their interests. The movies. Maybe there’s an upcoming business expo they’re excited to attend. That’ll tell you which industry they’re in. Music–which type? Concert, symphony…
COnversation is meant to be fun, friendly, meaningful, or meandering… the most important part of it is being genuine, open to sharing tour own self AND to learning how the other person views life as you engage in the process.