Being likable and emotionally intelligent

By Thomas Koulopoulos via inc.com  Article

Harvard Study Reveals One Word Is The Secret To Being Likable And Emotionally Intelligent

So, where’d you learn to question? 

Learning how to ask questions is not something that most people are taught, not unless you’re a lawyer, in law enforcement, a doctor, or a journalist. That’s not to say any of those professions has a universally applicable formula for how to best ask questions, only that in each case it’s critical to shift the focus of the conversation onto the other person in order to build the rapport and transparency needed to make the relationship an effective one. …

… Brooks and John present these guidelines, from their research, for how to best ask questions that form a solid foundation of bonding, trust, empathy, transparency, and emotionally intelligent intimacy.

Favor follow-up questions.

According to Brooks and John, there are ‘four types of questions: introductory questions (‘How are you?’), mirror questions (‘I’m fine. How are you?’), full-switch questions (ones that change the topic entirely), and follow-up questions (ones that solicit more information).’

All of these are fair game and have their place, but follow-up questions are especially important because they signal an interest in the person you are talking to. The opposite is also true. If you ignore follow-up questions and simply stick to an agenda of pre-scripted questions, the conversation turns into an inquisition at worst and a disinterested, awkward exchange at best. Also, keep in mind that when someone answers a question they are often opening the door a little wider in the hopes of revealing information that they want to share more of.

Know when to keep questions open-ended.

We’ve all heard that open-ended questions are better than simple yes/no or multiple choice questions, since they result in richer and more revealing answers. That’s true, however, what we often ignore is the risk of closed-ended questions that introduce bias and a sense of manipulation.

We’ve all been on the giving or receiving end of questions that are subtly trying to drive to an already anticipated conclusion with the use of closed-ended questions. I have one good friend who’s notorious for both asking and answering closed-ended questions in a way that almost makes it appear as though my being there is optional! When you ask a question stop, wait, and allow the person to digest and respond. Don’t try to just fill the silence or move away from what appears to be a dead end. For example, one of the best ways to do this is by following-up a closed-ended answer, such as yes or no, with the question, ‘Can you tell me why you answered yes (or no)?'”

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