How to write the right questions

One sentence can be interpreted in different ways, depending on how it’s said. Clear, unambiguous communication is key to creating powerful connections and having engaging and fulfilling conversations.

Audio Creation
 — 
3
 Min read
 — 
July 23, 2021

One sentence can be interpreted in different ways, depending on how it’s said. Clear, unambiguous communication is key to creating powerful connections and having engaging and fulfilling conversations.

When we’re trying to get to know someone, we ask them questions, whether it’s on a date, during a job interview, or, more specifically, while we’re recording a podcast episode featuring a guest. In every one of these situations, it can be difficult to meet someone for the first time and ask them the right questions to break the ice and make them open up. We’ve got you covered with some of the steps that have helped us connect with our guests.

Covered in this article

  • Get to know each other
  • Go with the flow
  • Question formulation and intonation
  • Summary

Get to know each other

We can’t meet a person for the first time and expect them to immediately open up to us. It’s definitely harder than it sounds. When you’re first getting started, the best thing to do is to ask basic, non-personal questions, then move towards slightly more personal ones. For example, you could start asking them about what they do for a living then move on to why they decided to choose this path as their career; this way, you could hear their perspective and ask the following questions with their point of view in mind. 

Getting to know the person we are talking to, their likes and dislikes, is crucial to a fruitful and engaging conversation. It allows them to open up and give you a clearer view on their values and beliefs.

Go with the flow

As your questions get a little more personal, try to keep in mind that it shouldn’t feel like an interrogation. You are going to need to engage with the other person’s responses because you’re not just evaluating them, they are also evaluating you. If they feel like you’re not interested, they will stop opening up to you and answer your questions based on what they think you are expecting from them. 

They say that 93% of communication is non verbal and that body language tells you most of what you need to know about a person, but what if the interview that you’re conducting is remote or better yet, asynchronous? 

Question formulation and intonation

As we all know, the last year and a half introduced the world to the Covid-19 epidemic that changed our lives forever. One of the most significant changes that occurred is the way we work, and more specifically, the way we communicate. Some of us started to work remotely, others stopped working altogether. However, most of our relationships became virtual, and we had no say in the matter. Communication became harder and harder with quarantine isolating individuals on and off, but a lot of bonds remained intact, and even becoming stronger. If 93% of communication is in fact non verbal, then how could that be? And what about the other 7%?

The answer: Most people indirectly learned how to formulate better sentences and pay more attention to intonation in order to be fully understood, because, as mentioned earlier, a sentence can be interpreted in different ways. This is also why some couples make long distance relationships work and others don’t. 

Verbal communication is just as important as non-verbal communication, according to professor Elizabeth Stokoe; you need to choose the right words to get the answers that you’re looking for. For example, when you ask people if they would find a certain service helpful, or if they’d be interested, you are often met with resistance. But if you ask them if they would be “willing” to do it, they’ll often say yes to demonstrate their agreeableness.

Summary

Good communication is what makes healthy relationships and meaningful conversations. When there’s a guest that you’re welcoming on your podcast, be it in person, remotely or even asynchronously, you need to do a lot of research, formulate the right questions and ask them in the right way, so that you can record an episode that will resonate with your audience.

Enjoy this article? Let's keep in touch!