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Ask This One Question to Connect and Learn!

By Arel

· Instant Ideas,Utility Belt,Conversation

Isn't it great how our world is such an interesting world? Too bad we don't have all the time to experience 100% of it, and too bad that we can't simultaneously exist in two places at once!

More realistic is to live and learn vicariously through our friends and our networks! In this episode of the Art of Likability, we talk about one question that helps you to connect with someone and get a little bit of their perspective!

"What's one takeaway that you got from the experience?"

Do you believe that there's always something amazing to learn from your friends and from the world? I do.

They know things I don't. I know things they don't. That doesn't change the fact that I want to know and understand their experiences.

I hope that you share with me this curiosity and this burning desire to connect with others.

What's it like stepping onto the field as a professional athlete?

I'm not a professional athlete, but I know the feeling of competition, confidence, preparation, and never giving up on myself.

What's running through a scientist's mind as she's putting two and two together from her own findings and past literature?

Science is not my skillbase, but she and I must both be precise and exacting in our research.

Everyone brings something slightly different to the conversational table. But there are ways in which you share similarities and intersect.

This episode is about how to find and establish that social intersection. Let's jump into the method!

Step 1: What stood out?

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When you're in a conversation with someone, one question I really like to ask is:

"What's one recent book that really stood out to you?"

But the question doesn't have to be about books. Maybe they didn't read a book that recently. Not everybody is attempting to rebuild the Royal Library of Alexandria book by book!

There are many variations on this theme:

"What's one recent conversation you had that really stood out to you?"

"What's the latest thing you're working on that has you super excited?"

"What's one news article that really stood out to you?"

Important to Notice!

It's important to notice here that I'm not asking questions like "what's the best book you've read," "what's the coolest project you're working on," what's the most informative conversation you had," and so on.

Very definitive questions like these will get people thinking and calculating. Best for me, or best for you? Coolest for me, or coolest for you? Maybe the coolest thing for you is basketball, while I like guitar. Now they potentially feel like they have to play the right card for our judgement.

Let's not leave our friends at an impasse like this! So when I ask what stood out, I place the power firmly in their hands.

Now they're free to give you interesting and unfiltered stories.

Did you know one of my friends once threw away his phone and went off on a mission to live without electronics?

Step 2: "What's one takeaway that you got from the experience?"

Okay, well he didn't really throw away his cellphone. And he didn't go full Luddite and change into a caveman. Not that extreme. But he did go on a week long retreat without electronics. And that's a highly interesting experience.

So I asked him: "What's one takeaway that you got from the experience?"

To summarize his takeaway: "What I learned is that we're very distracted in modern life."

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There's more than a kernel of truth to that statement! My friend's takeaway has helped me think about how efficient I am at getting things done and where I can improve.

What's one recent book, conversation, or thought that really stood out to you?

And what's the takeaway?

Always important to think that you can do yourself one better. Conversation. Interview Skills. Everything you bring to the table to make this world a better place.

Remember: You Are Awesome!

*high five*