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One simple question to really get to know someone.

Aktualisiert: 28. Aug. 2019

Think about the last time you met someone new. Maybe at a business meeting, a networking event, or maybe at a wedding. The very first time you got to meet a new person. Are you thinking of such a time? Ok. 

So, what was one of the very first things you asked, or were being asked? Well, a standard question for sure is this: 

"So…. what do you do?"

Sounds about right? Well, there is nothing wrong with this question per se. Don’t get me wrong. It all depends on what you want to achieve and experience when you meet new people. 

And maybe you did not want to meet anyone new in the first place. A business meeting you had to attend. Or that wedding your partner dragged you to. Places full of strangers. And now you are there. Thinking about how many Apple-Martinis it would take for you to survive this dreadful experience. 

Well, let me offer you an alternative solution to this questionable and numbing "Apple-Martini approach". A more useful one really, which will actually help you keep your job, if you are at that business meeting - or your wife, if you are at that wedding. 

Here is the idea:

So, while you are there, with no way out, why not make the best of the situation? How about stirring up conversations a little, instead of Martinis? (Sorry, I don’t even drink alcohol. Not sure how this drink got so prominent in this post). What if, you were to add another few words to the above mentioned standard question of “So….what do you do?” and turn it into something more profound, meaningful, and delightful, really? 

How about next time you ask this question instead:

“So, what do  you do…(pause)…to make this world a better place?”

Try asking this question with a bit of a pause after the first part, and with an emphasis on “you”. Why don't you try it out right now. Asking yourself this questions for the first time, actually helps.

Of course, before trying it with other people, it also helps answering this questions for yourself and being more aware of your own impact on the world. Why? Well, chances are, the now curious conversation partner might turn the question around on you.

What you may get from this new way of meeting people are two things (maybe more):

1.  Entertainment and meaning: You find yourself having much more meaningful and delightful conversations – even at seemingly boring events. You actually really get to know another person, instead of just meeting them. Less “small talk”, more “big talk”, you could say.

2.  Growth and learning: You may learn from the other person and their experiences in life, while also sowing some seeds for self-reflection yourself. 

Let me know what your think. I am really curious to learn about your experiences with this way of getting to know new people the next time you use it.

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Aug 22, 2021

Great blog post, thanks for sharing.

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