“A good friend is to life- a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.” ~Lois Wyse
We all strive to build deeper and more meaningful connections with the people in our lives. When we care, we want to know more of what other people are feeling and thinking, wanting and planning. To do this gently and positively, we need to use positive questions that “open” people up instead of “closing” them off.
Our usual “yes/no” questions actually tend to shut people up rather than opening them up and building a bond.
You can encourage others to share more of their thoughts and feelings by asking the right positive questions.
How to ask Positive Questions for more deeper and meaningful connections
Open-ended questions allow for a wide range of responses. For example, asking “What did you like best about that movie/speech/food, etc.?” will evoke a more in-depth response than “Did you like it?” (Which could be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”). If you do ask yes/no questions, be ready to follow them up with probing questions that will move the response beyond a one-word answer. “Are you having a good day?” – “Yes.” “What has made it so good?”
Asking positive questions is like any other skill. It can be learned, understood and mastered with study, practice and persistence.
The idea behind asking questions is to show interest, learn more, and make the other person feel good, thereby creating a more deeper heart connection. In my profession I counsel countless people, and asking the right positive questions is the one thing that shows me how they are feeling, so that I can help and heal them. To do this, start with feel good areas that establish rapport. Eg. Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money – basic building blocks of life that people are interested in talking about.
Here are some examples of positive questions:
• “What have you been doing with your free time?”
• “How is the economy treating you?”
• “What projects have you been working on?”
• “I’d love to know more about your family. What are your kids involved in?”
As we learn to ask good positive questions, the bonds we establish automatically become deeper and deeper.
My Favorite Positive Questions:
I’ll share three of my favorite questions to ask. I’ve found that they invariably produce meaningful conversation. I like to call them the story question, the passion question, and Larry King’s favorite question.
1) The Story Question: “How did you get started in the (XYZ) business?
Everyone loves to tell his or her story. So ask a question that allows them to do it. “How did you get started in (whatever it is they do)?”
2) The Passion Question: “What do you love best about what you do?”
People love to talk about the things they are passionate about. So ask them for details and just watch the room light up. An example might be, “So you are a stay at home mom, that’s great. What do you love best about being a mother?” Let people share their passion and excitement for what they do.
These two questions open people up because they have a chance to talk about two of the most important parts of their life.
3) The third question is designed to go deeper:
Larry King’s and my 5 year old daughters Favorite Question: “Why?”
Larry King makes a living as a talk show host; asking questions is what he does. He interviews everyone from top celebrities to world leaders on “Larry King Live.” He has often said his favorite question is “Why?” “Why did you do that?” “Why did you go there?” “Why did that interest you?” “Why is that important?”
That one, simple, three-letter word,– “Why?” – has enormous power. It probes. It digs. It illuminates. It gets to the heart of the matter. It puts thought process and motives into context. It is at the center of meaningful dialogue and understanding. My five year old asks “Why” out of curiosity, but we ask it to build deeper more meaningful relationships.
Remember, its not about digging deeper into the opposite person …its about positively touching the heart and creating deeper, longer and more lasting relationships.
What are your favorite positive questions? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
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23 thoughts on “How to ask Positive Questions for deeper and more meaningful connections”
Perfect timing Zeenat,
I’m going to link to this post in my latest blog. I was just writing about my intention to create deeper, more meaningful connections!
I got your link to the post 🙂 Its awesome! Thank you for the link love and for writing so beautifully.
This is turning out to be one of those deeper more meaningful connections too 🙂
Here’s a question that will make the person realize that you value him/her.
What do you think?
I love it when I am asked this.
Thats such a powerful question. A question that tells the opposite person that you truly care about what they think. Thank you for sharing it.
And thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts here. I appreciate you.
A wonderful question you along the lines of your number 2 is ask Is what do you love about where you live- this can give you a deeper insght into the persons heart too. Thank you for sharing i will ask more questions that are opening into the heart
I love “what do you love about where you live?” ! I am going to use this one for sure 🙂 Thank you for sharing your timeless wisdom here darling.
Sending you immense love~
“What is your favorite…” is almost always guaranteed to bring on happy results. Great post, Zeenat! 😀
I totally agree. The word Your and Favorite coming together is always a potent combination 🙂 Thank you for sharing it here. Love it!
“How to ask Positive Questions for deeper and more meaningful connections.”
This will be one of the few times when I will leave a comment based only on the head title of a post without reading the contents.
* * * *
Just before I opened up my mail the *question* came to myself…”How do they make Spanish Rice so light, not too moist, not to dry, a hint of rojas, and with so much flavor??
…well remember your post on cooking?
Since then almost daily the Latino family across the road and myself *meaningfully* share what we cook in the evening.
This evening as I was preparing my dinner inside a “Hello” came from outside.
I was greeted by the father of the family holding a plate heaping full of *Spanish Rice* and the most delicious Chili Relleno!
This *sharing* escalated even more so after I gave them my DVD copy of ‘Tortilla Soup’ 🙂
…so what we have here is a relationship developed through daily *genuine* *love* *enthusiasm* *sharing* and of just living for each and one another.
Laughter permeates from sunrise to sunset…Steinbeck would be at home here.
The homes are humble, but the lives are robust and reflective of God’s love.
…well OK if you really got to know!
I returned slices of pizza cooked on the outdoor grill consisting of black olives, mushrooms, red bell peppers, white onion, egg plant, two cheeses, plus fresh basil, mint, and rosemary from the garden.
…so what do you suppose my chances are in getting an answer to my question?
I will go to sleep tonight content.
I will wake up to *laughter* from across the way early in the morning and then begin to read your post without needing to ask why I love being here 🙂
That pizza sounds heavenly! Please fedEx me a slice…;)
May you sleep content every night my friend.
And whether you read and comment or just comment…I love reading your words here.
Wonderful topic for discussion Zeenat!
I think when we ask thought provoking positive questions, they make people think beyond the usual yes or no type of answers. That’w what helps builds a conversation between two people and adds to the communication if it’s on a blog post. This makes the relationships better in all ways.
My favorite questions might be so many that it gets tough to mention just a few here. Nevertheless, one such could be what moves you, or what touches you. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I love the “what moves/touches you?” question too. It tugs a certain string in the heart…that makes the person just so open. Amazing.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom here darling.
Love having you here.
As a Life Coach, questions are my thing…they make the world go ’round…you have done well.
be good to yourself
Yes David, I do know …that you lovely life coaches use thought provoking questions to get tot he core of the matter. I like how both our worlds revolve around just the right positive question 🙂
Thank you fro your lovely comment here.
Zeenat- If every individuals was taught what you just wrote, the world would be a VERY different place. Curiosity, concern, listening, and simple direct questions opens the door for an individual to open up, express themselves, share, and feel heard.
My ministerial counseling has been a wonderful tool to learn to ask only a few questions but ones that get to the meat of the issue. Thanks for a magnificent post. xxoo-Fran
I so agree! Life as we know it would become heaven truly. I think the problem is less with what we are taught…but with the way we are taught it. Hence the right positive way of asking can do wonders..right 🙂
I might swap those meaty questions with you dearest…they might come in handy on my end too.
Thank you for a lovefull comment!
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For the past two days I have read that there are 9 comments, but have only seen and read 8 comments?
Perhaps the 9th has been reserved for this *Question*:
thank you dear Rand! To Freedom yay!
Whenever I have networking/coffee meetings with people, these are the kinds of questions I ask. I take the first few minutes to ask the usual “what do you do” kinds of questions to break the ice (which bore me). Then I take the words they say along with their tone and body language to lead me into the meatier, more fun questions that get them to really open up. Anyone who says they hate networking should try this. You’ll start to love meeting new people.
Thanks for this Zeenat! Great information!!
You being a fellow Libran…I can just imagine you being awesome at asking these questions almost intuitively…:) I can see you having so much fun at these meets…You go girl! One day soon I would love to see you in action personally 🙂
Thank you for an amazing comment. Loved it!
I have been so deeply in grief over my brother’s untimely passing that I have been avoiding contact with those who aren’t close to me this summer. I can’t say that I frequently question anyone. I’m not inclined to be chatty or self revealing. That means I tend to be a listening post who only occasionally prompts the other person I’m visiting with. Remarkably, several people who do communicate with me on very deep levels tell me they share confidences with me that they don’t share with others because they feel safe with me ie. I’m not snoopy and I’m not trying to “fix” them. Having read this article twice I know that positive questioning is a skill I need to develop, as it will help enrich my relationships with others. Thanks for sharing this wisdom with us.
So sorry to read about your loss. My deepest condolences and love to you and your family. I have lost a brother to an accident..and completely understand how you feel. Its difficult to wrap your head around….
I love that you are so easy to be around and that the people in your life trust you enough to share their deepest stuff with you. A non-judgmental, neutral person when asks positive questions…can get to the root of it easily.
I’m glad you found the questions here informative.
Thank you for stopping by. May your brother be at peace. Amen.
Lots of love to you always~
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