What makes you smile lately?
What can almost bring you to tears?
Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
What eases your stress?
These are what counsellors call “meaningful questions.” They are questions that cannot simply be answered with a “yes, no, maybe” or my least favourite: “good.”
All too often I have asked people questions to only receive a one word “good.”
How was school today? Good.
How was your drive here? Good.
How are you feeling? Good.
Really it’s not the fault of the responder for being vague, they weren’t given much for their tired mind to build on.
My husband and I are enrolled in an online Marriage Mentoring Academy (I’ll write about that in the future), and have been learning the art of asking meaningful questions.
I can’t begin to tell you how it’s transforming our conversations. We work with a wide variety of people from grade 6 all the way to the early thirties, and this skill is valuable in each relationship.
But where it hit closest to home was on our Valentine’s day date.
Andrew and I have no problem talking for hours when we go out, but honestly sometimes we come home feeling like we were just at work again. We end up coming up with incredible ideas and plans for our ministry, which is very thrilling, but it often doesn’t leave us understanding more of each other’s hearts.
There is a time and place for all those conversations, but we knew when we went out that we wanted to dive in a little deeper.
We were armed with the skill of asking meaningful questions and decided that each of us would think of one question ahead of our date.
This may sound structured, but it was the best conversation I think we’d ever had since having kids. These two simple questions set the course of our night and we dove into each others hearts from the restaurant, to the coffee shop to back home.
When you ask someone a meaningful question you have shown them that you are genuinely interested in them. You have made a deposit of trust into their life, and they can feel confident opening up to you.
By asking a meaningful question you can get further in a mentoring relationship in one get together than you can in ten sessions waiting for them to “spill the beans.”
If you want to take your relationships to a deeper level and really impact a person’s life through purposeful listening, learn to ask meaningful questions!
It may take some forethought, but it is 100% worth it!
(this image is from Saving More Than Me)