Easy Questions to Help People Open Up

“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”

Proverbs 20:5

Mastering the skill of not just listening, but also asking questions that draw out the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of people will allow you to have more influence in the lives of those you love and lead.

The level of open and honest dialogue in your relationships is an indicator of your relational health. The more people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, the more healthy your relationships will be at home or at work.

Knowing what you want to do is one thing. Having the tools to do it effectively is something else.

Teenager with parent

Remember, these questions will only be effective if you are intentionally creating an atmosphere that is safe and non-threatening for them to share. You may need to model vulnerability by opening up first, in order for them to feel comfortable being more transparent with you.

Opening up, and sharing your feelings may not feel natural for you or the person you are talking to. Children may feel comfortable wanted to share everything about their day and how they are feeling, but as we grow older, we learn to withhold our thoughts and feelings, and even censer them.

As a result, most people need to know it’s ok to be a child-like again by opening up and sharing what really on their mind.

Here are a few statements and questions to help you give people permission to share what they really feel, and to allow you to get people to open up.

  • “Tell me more.”
  • “What is that like for you?”
  • “How did you feel when that happened?”
  • “How did you handle it?”
  • “Could you give me an example?”
  • “It sounds like it was a difficult time for you.”
  • “What does this all mean to you?”
  • ‘Could you tell me generally what is going on?
  • “This is what I hear you saying…does that fit for you?”
  • “You sound like you feel…? Go on.”
  • “How do you feel as you talk about it now?”
  • “Right now you seem…”
  • “Let’s see if I can put together what you are saying.”
  • “How (why) is that important to you?’
  • “What are some of the reasons you think that happened?”
  • “I understand.”

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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