How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
10 Great Questions to Ask Your Client, Friend or Spouse
Guest articles > 10 Great Questions to Ask Your Client, Friend or Spouse
by: Lisa Earle McLeod
We’re all looking for the magic bullet, the secret words to make our spouse melt, our co-worker cooperate and our customer giggle with glee as they sign on the dotted line.
But after twenty years spent coaching executives and sales leaders, I’ve come to realize that the secret statement is rarely a statement. It’s a question.
One of the best ways to demonstrate interest is with questions. Nothing is more affirming or exciting than having someone take a sincere interest in you.
It’s ironic. We all know how wonderful it is to have someone ask about the things that are important to you. When someone asks good questions, we immediately engage, we feel comfortable and we share more information.
Yet when we want to get someone else interested in us, or try to persuade them to go along with our plans, we often take the opposite approach. We wind up talking more about ourselves than we do asking about them.
After observing hundreds of interpersonal interactions, I can tell you: The people who are the most well-liked, and the most successful at getting other people to buy into their ideas are the people who ask the best questions.
Good questions, the kind that truly connect us with others, are sincere and well-planned. They zero in on the other person’s goals and challenges.
The content of your questions is important and so is your tone. For example, “Where were you last night?” can be asked with accusation, interest, concern, or even boredom.
If you want to have a better relationship with someone, be it a family member or a colleague, get your heart in the right place, think of a few things that might be important to them, and try one of these 10 questions:
1. What do you enjoy most about (insert important activity)?
2. What’s the most challenging part of (something they spend a lot of time
3. If you could change anything about (pressing situation), what would it
4. How is this (change, event or situation) affecting you?
5. When you look at X (challenge) and Y (other challenge), how do you
6. How do YOU feel about this?
7. What do you think is causing (situation that’s on their mind)?
8. How can I best support you on (big project, goal or activity)?
9. What is your deepest fear about (something important to them)?
10. What are your highest hopes for the future?
Your job as the listener is to treasure the information.