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The Art Of Asking

AllBright. Sisterhood Works. Susan’s Method, Part Two. The Art of asking. Read and take Susan McPherson’s exercise.
AllBright, Sisterhood Works: Susan McPherson, Founder and CEO McPherson Strategies
© AllBright 2020

Download the interactive worksheet or read below.

The Art of Asking

Tools : A pen and paper, and of course – yourself!

Time : 20 minutes

Context : Are you renowned for listening or talking? Do you find yourself busy trying to be interesting, rather than being interested in what’s around you? We’re here to help you explore how curious you really are about others, and how it’s reflected in your behaviour.

When we’re feeling out of our comfort zone, having access to useful conversation starters can help spark an initial connection that allows meaningful relationships to bloom. Finding five or so that work for you can be a wonderful way to ease yourself into approaching others to build rapport, mastering your own conversational technique.

Susan has shared some of her favourite opening lines, to act as the framework to honing your own. With a question for every style and situation, the sky is your limit.

The Questions :

When attending your next event (or virtual breakout room), choose the questions that work for you from the list below, and embrace the art of consciously learning about others. In turn, see both your connections and confidence grow. Of course, these pointers are best tailored and tweaked to suit your personal style, which is what we’ll be looking into next.

Right now, what are you most interested in? If you could visit anywhere on Earth tomorrow, where would you go? I’d love to hear what you wish you had more time for? What’s the last great meal you’ve had- I’m looking for recommendations? When you’re not working, what keeps you busy? What is the most challenging thing in your life right now? What are you most curious about in the current world? Have you read any interesting articles or books recently? Or listened to any great new podcasts?

Instructions : Define Your Own Key Questions

Step 1 : Firstly, Let’s Start With You Outline what it is you actually hope to find out about someone by writing down all the things that interest you. Grab a pen and paper and get started on a list of your passions, hobbies and desires – and get ready to be inspired.

Step 2 : Time To Create Your Questions Now you have highlighted what you’d love to talk about, start to form the questions that you would need to be asked yourself to share your answers from Step 1. Be open-minded and see how many you can come up with.

Step 3 : Lock In Your Top Five Write up your questions then get creative, cutting them up and separating them into sentences. Lay them down on the floor in a random order and from the bottom up, choose which you prefer from one to the next. Move your favourite questions up accordingly until you reach the top of your list and there you have it – you’ve defined your favourite five. Now, write these five questions out clearly, somewhere you can see them to refer back to.

Top Tip: Going in head-first with a new connection through a deeply personal opening question can halt conversation in its tracks. Discover your own Art of Asking by being mindful, and sensitively reading the situation. Achieve this through careful observation, learning to decipher tell-tale body language and assessing the environment around you. Recognise that there is great power in non-verbal communication, as this will unlock a new awareness that’ll allow you to consider the entire environment when building new bonds. Embrace these steps and have fun with your top five questions, allowing them to lead to more meaningful conversations.

We want to hear your top five! Help others benefit from your curious creativity by sharing them with the group in the comments below. Let’s support each other in making future long-lasting connections.

© AllBright 2020
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Sisterhood Works: How to Build a More Meaningful Network

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