When we meet a new person, whether it’s a possible romantic connection or a new colleague, it seems we are programmed to go through the same boring “get to know you” questions each time. Where are you from? What do you do? What do you like to do on the weekends? Where did you go to school? How many times in your life have you asked these or had them asked to you? Hundreds! Perhaps thousands! Let’s upgrade these!
The problem is that all of these questions are logical questions, meaning that they impart factual information. There’s no emotion to them. In order to create a rapport with good energy, you need to access each other’s emotions, and quickly, especially if you are on a date. Asking positive emotional questions gets them to remember happy times, then feel happy and then equate those feelings of happiness to you. You make them feel good when they are around you so they want to be around you in order to feel good. Perfect!
“Where are you from?” changes to “What’s one of your favorite memories from childhood?”
It’s usually one of the opening questions we ask. The first question doesn’t necessarily lead to any exposition. (“I’m from Buffalo.”) However, in order to answer the second one, you have to first remember a happy time, then as our emotions are intrinsically tied to our memories, you start to feel good. Now when you answer, you have a smile on your face, a happy, nostalgic memory in your head and are actually enjoying answering this question. Plus, in order to answer it, they have to tell you where they’re from, so you’re now good to go! (“I grew up in Buffalo but my aunt had a little cottage on Lake Erie and we go out on this dock and…”)
“What do you do?” changes to “When was the last time your boss praised you?”
Praise is one of the strongest positive emotions. It is success with public awareness. And we all like to talk about times we kicked ass, but no one ever asks about those times! Sure it may seem like a bit of an awkward question, but you want to stand out from all the others asking the same boring questions. Also, nobody usually loves talking about their job (I do!), so you are also steering the conversation away from negative emotions they may have associated with their place of work. Another possible question would be, “What assignment at work did you kick ass on the most?”
“What do you like to do on the weekends?” changes to “What was the best part of last weekend?”
While the first question might sound emotional, it doesn’t ask about the positive aspects of it. (“I work around the house and try and meet up with some friends.”) But when you add the words, “best, favorite, most passionate, exciting, etc.”, you are starting to ask about a specific instance, which has a specific memory attached to it. (“Actually, it’s going to sound stupid, but I just got my 1,000th Instagram follower!”)
“Where did you go to school?” changes to “What was the best party you went to in college?”
Again, you want to focus on something specific. If someone says to you, “Oh you went to Notre Dame? How was that?”, it’s too general to answer well and doesn’t bring back any of the emotions of the time. But we all remember (even if it’s hazy) the best party we went to! Or you ask, “What was your favorite part of going to school there?”, “What project/assignment did you get the best grade on?” or “What teacher inspired the most passion in you?” They may sound a little different, but remember risk vs. reward? You risk sounding a little goofy, but the rewards are immeasurable!
These are just a few examples of some easy questions but every question can be asked emotionally. From the most boring, “Why do you use that pen?” vs. “What is it about that pen that you like more than any others?” to the most personal, “What’s your best trait?” vs. “What do people compliment you on the most?” So while you don’t need to walk around talking like Dr. Phil all the time, think of, and memorize one of these that you feel comfortable with and start asking it. You’ll be surprised with how excited and happy people get around you!