I always tried to write on different areas as possible. Despite of making all the revolutions I recently thought about writing some helpful and calm content. So, here I’m giving you some ideas or some tips about healthier questions for conversations. Like, what should we ask, how should we ask that, what’s the best way to ask this, is this mean or rude?
When we interact with our families, friends, and co-workers, we have to deal with their mentality too. Some of my friends have serious mental illnesses and problems. Most of them suffer from depression. So, thinking on that made me to write about “Better questions for Healthier conversations.” So I started to ask questions when I am talking to my fellows. But there I found a struggle!
How to avoid those struggles?
When doing that I found out that asking questions, or asking better questions is way more difficult than we think. It is not spontaneous at all. We have to practice it. It is an art. And in that art, I’m a scientist!!! It was a disaster. So I kept thinking about it. Then I suddenly remembered the way one of my high school teachers used. He was our literature teacher. Despite keep discussing the poem’s themes, techniques and analysis, he discussed the poem with us. He gave us the chance to ask questions we had about the poem. That method was as appropriate to us as high school students who don’t have their mind at a rest.
I thought my struggle was that being bored about their problems. But when I remembered the method my literature teacher used I realized that there is nothing to do with my interest. That is my monkey mind that jumping here and there. No matter how hard I tried to concentrate, my mind always kept me being distracted. So I decided to keep the conversation more active by asking questions. That’s where I found that questioning is an art.
What made me to write this article?
Again I went back and forth to my high school classes. I flashbacked the memory we kept asking and answering. That year we all had “A” grades to our subject. That was indeed a success. That memory gave me the idea of writing this beneficial article. I loved that class. So I think you would love this article too.
Power of questions has stuck with me forever. But it took a long way to me to figure out what question is better to ask. I read and I researched a lot. And I needed a lot practice too. So, here we are. You don’t have to try hard as me. So, let’s get into it.
Here are some clues.
- Truly listen
- Ask more questions
- Add follow up questions
- Ask open ended questions
- Restrain the urge to interrupt.
Firstly, truly listen.
I think we all have being through this situation in our lives. It is that, when we are telling someone a story or when we are talking to someone or when we are discussing something with someone. Sometimes, our listener asks some non-related questions randomly. It shows that they are not listening to us or they’re half listening to us. Or maybe they got distracted by some other interesting facts.
On the other hand we can think that maybe the problem is with us, or the speaker. Maybe we don’t give the clear idea to them. May be our mind is drifting here and there. Any how it is not very nice to both the listener and the speaker. It is not a very good conversation.
So, to prevent that we have to stay tune and really listen to the one who is speaking. We have to train ourselves to that purpose. That sets the background for a good conversation. And that naturally leads to ask good and appropriate questions which contains the genuine curiosity.
Secondly, ask more questions.
According to so many researches, it has been proven that when we are in a conversation, we don’t as enough questions. According to a review that carried out by the Harvard University, there is a popular statement. They did this research among the people who faced to an interview, or a discussion or a counselling session. Almost everyone said this specific statement that “I wish he had asked more questions” or “I couldn’t understand why she didn’t asked many details”. These has been some of the most repeated statements that they have cited.
And another fact is that just asking question is not enough. It may be uncomfortable to the other party. You have to be bit tricky. Just start seeking for their background information. We have to make them believe us. We have to make a bond between us and them. After that they will easily open up. And that will pave the way to level up your relationship with them. Showing them that you are interest in them is the best way to co-operate with them comfortably.
It doesn’t say that questioning is not a successful method. It really is a very successful method. But posing your questions in a subtle way is more successful than just asking direct questions. You will be one step closer to your task.
You can ask some subtle questions like this.
“Tell me why cupcakes are your favorite?” or “What makes that bond between you and your grandpa so special?” like that.
And you can add below questions also as a great foundation.
- What did you do as your hobby during this pandemic?
- Were they the ones you usually liked or just pandemic things?
- What is the book you could never forget? What makes you to mesmerize it that much?
- Can you suggest me your favorite song?
- What are your top most favorite music bands?
- Why you did specifically suggested them?
- Who was your childhood here? Does he/she remains to the date?
- If not why it had changed?
- Who was your teenage celebrity crush? Did she/he has inspired you to a point?
By asking questions like that, you can built a close connection with your speaker.
This has been really helpful and applicable with my little brother. They have radar sense to notice whether we are really listening to them. If they felt like we don’t listen to them they will stop communicating with us. That will effect to break the bond between you and your loved ones. If it has already happen, then try this trick. It will be game-changing.
You can ask these questions to feel them that you are genuinely caring about them.
- What has made you to say that?
- Why do you think it is wrong?
- How you would react if you were there?
- What made you too fell like this?
Try to add those questions appropriately while you are in the conversation.
If we say that in other words, this method shows our speaker that we really value them. That meant so much to them. The feeling that you have been heard is one of the most calming feelings. So we can let them to feel that they have been heard by somebody.
Here, in my little brother’s case, it has been very effective. When I ask questions like that, it stops him from melting down or acting frustrated. That is because that they feel like they have been understood by somebody. And as we all know, that’s a relief. By doing that we can give them the feeling that we have understood their opinions and the manner which we should respond them.
And there is another important thing to do in a conversation. When you heard something unclear or doubtful please do not let it go. Instead of doing that just ask “what did you mean by that?” or “what made you to say that?” This may look nothing. But I assure you, this will be the bush fire that clears your way to their mind.
Try to add these very common, but really meaningful and helpful questions make your conversation a healthy one.
- How was your day? Was it bad or good?
- How is your father? Is he doing well these days?
- I’m not very sure that I got it. Can you explain it further bit for me?
- What was the motivating fact to say it? / act like this?
- How is your day to day life? Doing well?
- Do you think would you ever regret this decision? Will you ever change your mind?
This has been one of the most fruitful methods I have been using for years.
It is a famous fact that when we ask questions with ‘yes’, ‘no’ answers, speakers feel bit boring. And it is same with us. We also feel lazy and sleepy to just keep questioning and answering. It is very interesting to keep these conversations like discussions. And we cannot extract the best from our speaker by asking such ‘yes’ ‘no’ questions.
But when I quit that boring method and started to ask more questions with welcoming endings, I was surprised. The ones who kept their mouths shut, start to chat like parrots. They revealed some astonishing information and details. (Even though some of those details consider as very hard to takeout from speakers). It is like that they were waiting to hear those questions from someone. They were willingly giving them out like they were waiting for ages to spit them out. And there is a great advantage of these questions with welcoming endings. These questions don’t make assumptions. They can provide us with the exact details. Because the speaker feels that we are with all ears to listen. So they don’t limit into a box of their own and they fully open their hearts. And they don’t hurry. They speak in a very detailed and freely. That helps a lot.
Here are some tips to include while communicating.
- So, are you satisfied with our little chat?
- What do you think about this?
- What was your favorite section while we were talking?
- Did you feel any inconvenience during our chat?
- Do you think this has been very helpful?
- What was your last great diner you had with some one? What made it so special?
Put away the urge to disturb.
This is really important. I highly recommend you to NOT TO DO THIS! This made our speaker bit anxious. It gives them the feeling that we are in a hurry. It is true that we are not in a hurry and we can spend days listening to them. But this happens unintentionally when we get so excited. It is not good. It happens that when we get this feeling that ‘oh yes. I know this is was what exactly happened. And I know the solution’ and here we jump! To be honest, I have done that too. But no more.
Don’t do that. It is not appropriate. Don’t jump in to their story before they done talking. It rushed them to end the story quickly and the direction of the conversation also can be changed. And not only that, it can be so annoying to the speaker too. Show some respect dude! (Ha-ha JK) you can keep calm while they done talking with a little practice. So don’t worry. Just give them the time and freedom they want. And they will be clear as water.
The end result will be shockingly good!
So I think this has been really helpful for you. Because I know how big these conversations meant to the ones who desperately waiting for a listener. So be the listener. Give them the feeling that they are worthy. Stay happy folks.
So what’s your preferred question to ask somebody you’re trying to get to know better?
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