Use open-ended questions - Deepstash

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Use open-ended questions

Use open-ended questions

Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how.

For example, instead of asking "Were you terrified?", which will produce a "yes" or "no" answer, try asking, "How did that feel?" They might have to think about it, but you'll get a much better response.


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If you don't know, say that you don't know

People on the radio are more aware that they're going on the record and will be more careful about what they claim to be an expert in.

Do the same. Err on the side of caution.


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Try not to repeat yourself

Try not to repeat yourself

It's condescending. It's boring. Yet we all tend to do it a lot, especially in work conversations or with our kids. We have a point to make that we keep rehashing. Don't do it.


485 reads

The art of conversation

The art of conversation

We live in a world where every conversation can turn into an argument. Pew Research found that we are more polarised, more divided than we have ever been in history. It means we are not listening to each other. 

A conversation requires talking and listening, and somewhere we have lost the b...


662 reads

Don't pontificate

Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn as everybody is an expert in something.

A true conversation means setting aside your personal opinion. In sensing this acceptance, the speaker will become less vulnerable and more willing to open up.


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Be brief

A good conversation is brief enough to retain interest but long enough to cover the subject.


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The ability to really listen is perhaps the most important skill you could develop.

Why don't we listen?

  • We like to rather talk because when we talk, we're in control. We don't have to listen to anything we're not interested in.
  • We get distrac...


453 reads

Stay out of the weeds

People don't care about the little details you struggle to remember. The names, dates, years, they don't care.

What they care about is you. What you're like, what you have in common.


529 reads

Don't equate your experience with theirs

If they're talking about losing a loved one, don't start talking about the time you lost a loved one. If they talk about the trouble at work, don't tell them about your own troubles at work. It's not the same.

The conversation is not about you. You don't need to prove how amazing you are or...


454 reads

Go with the flow

We may listen to someone who talks for several minutes, and then thoughts will pop into your mind and draw your attention away from the conversation.

Stories and ideas will come to you, but you need to let them come and let them go.


529 reads

Don't multitask

Don't multitask

Be present in that moment.

Don't look at your cellphone. Don't think about what you're having for dinner. If you want out of the conversation, then get out, but don't be half in half out.


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Open-ended questions

Avoid questions you can answer “yes” or “no”. They are closed-ended, don’t generate discussion and they rarely yield any insight. 

By asking open-ended questions, you get far more interesting insights. They invite reflection and start discussions.

Ask open-ended questions

Ask open-ended questions

Those that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer, are the best type of questions to ask if you’re looking to establish common ground. 

Just be careful not to overdo your questioning. You don’t want the other person to feel like they’re being interrogated.

Ask open-ended questions

A mediation mindset is a place for trying to get to the root of an issue. That might mean proceeding without an agenda and just trying to learn more. 

Use open-ended questions: "Can you tell me why?” Keep the questions to six words or fewer. And don’t think too much. Just...

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