Ask meaningful questions to foster deeper connections
- Ask open-ended questions. When engaging in conversation, be intentional about asking open-ended questions that prompt participants to provide detailed and thoughtful responses. For example, instead of asking, "Are you satisfied with your relationship with your mother?" ask, "Why is your relationship with your mother the way it is? How did it get that way?" This encourages deeper reflection and meaningful discussion.
- Approach the conversation with an open mind. Recognize that everyone's perspectives and experiences are valid. Approach conversations with an open mind, actively seeking to understand different viewpoints. Avoid assuming that your beliefs and assumptions are the only valid ones. Actively listen and be receptive to diverse perspectives, fostering a more inclusive and enriching conversation.
- Ask follow-up questions
Demonstrate active listening and engagement by asking follow-up questions that connect to the participant's previous responses. Instead of sounding like an interrogator, try linking their answers to topics they've already discussed. For instance, you can say, "What you just mentioned about not fully understanding computer technology reminds me of what you said about not doing well in school. How do those relate?" or "How did that breakup affect your views on relationships?" This shows genuine interest and encourages participants to explore their thoughts further.
- Value and interpret silence appropriately. Understand that silence during a conversation does not necessarily indicate that someone has run out of things to say. Instead, silence can signify that someone is processing their thoughts or seeking permission to continue speaking. Avoid filling every moment of silence and allow space for your conversation partner to gather their thoughts. Respect their pace and give them the opportunity to continue the discussion when they are ready.
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