Asking Questions and Listening First
In any relationship, both parties bring their own past experiences with them. In order for us to relate well with others, whether a partner, a friend, or a co-worker, it is important to try and understand their point of view. To do this, we need to ask good questions and listen well to the answers.
The best type of question to help you understand others is an open-ended question. Some examples of open-ended questions are:
- What’s on your mind today?
- How are you feeling today?
- Tell me some ways you have thought about approaching this issue.
- Could you tell me more about that?
Another useful skill for building understanding is to listen first. Listening first means you focus on truly hearing and understanding what the person is telling you, before you come up with your response. One way to practice this is to use a reflective statement as your first response, in order to make sure you understood the message. For example:
- It sounds like you’re a little anxious and excited about the new project you’re taking on.