Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Great Conversations

In his blog today, Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers offers a number of guidelines for great conversations. Read the whole thing, but here are some nuggets worth taking to heart:

  • Ask open-ended questions. As the hosts, Gail and I have a singular goal: we try to ask interesting questions. We try to make these questions open-ended, so that people must elaborate and give us some insight into them as a person. For example,
    • What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
    • If you could design your ideal job, what would it look like?
    • What is the best book you have read in the last 12 months and why?
    • What is the most important lesson you learned from your father?
    • When is your very favorite thing about your spouse?
    • If you were by yourself, and could listen to any music you want, what it be?
    • If you could spend a day with anyone on the planet, who would it be?
    • What it is like to be your friend? or to be married to you?
    • If you were suddenly the President of the U.S., what would you do first?
    • Looking back over your life, what would you describe as your proudest moment?
  • Ask a second question. The most interesting conversations come after the initial answer. It takes extraordinary discipline to refrain from answering your own question and, instead. answer a second question. Yet this is where the deepest conversations occur. I like to ask questions like these as follow-up questions:
    • How did it feel when that happened?
    • Can you elaborate on that?
    • Why do you think that is important to you?
    • Do you think you would have answered the same way five years ago?
    • What emotion do you feel when you describe that?
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