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08.06.2024 Today’s Insights from LinkedIn – How to Ask Questions that Get People to Open Up

08.06.2024 Today’s Insights from LinkedIn – How to Ask Questions that Get People to Open Up
Dear Students,
Throughout your careers, you will be forging relationships with professionals in a variety of ways, building both internal and external connections and likely collaborating with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, business functions, industries and geographies. (Aspiring professionals like you need to know that “networking” doesn’t stop with your first job!)
Contrary to what some of you, who were raised in the East may think, asking questions, when done correctly, is not perceived as intrusive, but actually flattering. Posing thoughtful queries that relate to the person or situation at hand, or other commonly-discussed topics, is generally valued, and truly listening to the responses, when accompanied by appropriate affirmatory body language, is very much appreciated. For the most part, in the West, curiosity and inquisitiveness are viewed positively.
While there are always cultural differences to take stock of in doing so, there are some commonalities that cut across populations, which all ambitious international students (yes, including you!) should master, to streamline the process of building trust and engagement among diverse individuals.
  • It all starts with asking thoughtful questions, those that require more than a 1-word response and also convey genuine interest in the conversational partner. These are typically “open-ended” and require young professionals like you to learn “the power of the pause” – waiting quietly while your conversational partner formulates a response. Clarity is important, as well.
  • Doing so in an environment that feels comfortable for the individual, and creating the “vibe” of a judgment-free space also help to foster sharing. As Shakespeare wrote in his play Julius Caesar in 1599, “timing is everything.” Seek to communicate when it appears that the individual will be most receptive.
  • A third pointer is to view the process of learning to ask productive, relationship-building questions like any other technique that students like you must develop – it is one that needs to be practiced. Fortunately, our coaches are experienced in asking great questions, and can provide real-time feedback on those that you offer, as well. Doing so is an essential part of their professional development in seeking to launch global careers.
Here’s hoping that you get great answers to any questions you ask this evening and weekend!