You can have more powerful and more meaningful conversations with the people around you.
It’s not a difficult formula that we need to figure out. The opportunity to have meaningful conversations is everywhere around us – we just need to be open and take them!
Our conversations don’t have to be shallow or seem like a waste of time. If you set out to have more purpose in your conversations, they will naturally become more meaningful. For example, if you are at a school gathering and you want to get to know other parents – be genuinely interested in them and their story.
A simple and easy way to ignite more deep conversations is to ask good questions.
Sometimes, the most meaningful conversations come from a genuine interest in the other person’s story. Often, by asking the other person good questions about them, opens them up to giving authentic responses.
Be excited, genuinely interested and curious about the person on the other end of the conversation.
Here are 5 good questions to ignite deeper and more meaningful conversations.
1. What (or who) inspires you right now?
This question is great because it’s open-ended. The person can talk about work, personal life, family, etc. It also allows the other person to share what they’re passionate about and open up to you.
2. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this year?
Again, this is open-ended and allows them to share from any aspect of their lives. Their response tells you a lot about what’s important to them, what they value and things they love. This questions also gives the person an opportunity to reflect, pause and really think about their answer.
3. What’s your story?
This is one of my favourites! Every single person in this world has a unique and special story to tell. This question lets them tell it! You never know where the conversation could lead. It could lead to intriguing stories from when they were a child or something more adventurous such backpacking through Europe. Let the conversation flow and genuinely listen because chances are, they are speaking from the heart.
4. Why did you choose your profession?
A great follow-up question to the famous “What do you do?”. Go beyond their job description and get down to their “why”. It’s an easy way to continue the conversation and find out more about the person.
5. What are you looking forward to?
Leave it open-ended and see where the conversation flows. This question allows them to choose from a possible set of answers from their personal life, family, work and more.
Tip: Remember their answer for this question because it’s a great way to say goodbye/end the conversation. For example, if they are looking forward to their daughter’s wedding you can say, “Thanks for the lovely chat, I hope you have a great time at your daughter’s wedding”. Most people will appreciate that you listened and even remembered they mentioned that.
There is no perfect formula
There is no perfect formula for a deep and meaningful conversation. However, these questions are a simple and easy way to get to that point. The question you have to ask yourself is, “What is the purpose in this conversation?”. If your purpose is to have a better relationship with someone, these questions are a great way to get to know them on a deeper level.
Be genuinely excited and interested in having a conversation with someone and the conversation will just flow. Whichever questions you choose to use, it’s important to keep it open-ended and listen carefully to their responses.
You’re on your way to having more meaningful conversations!
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