Monday, May 12, 2008

25 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love

When people start talking ABOUT or get on the topic OF their passion, it’s interesting to note the changes in their communication patterns.




They get excited.
Their eyes light up.
They become more engaged.

Their emotions heighten.
Their energy level increases.
Their defensiveness decreases.

They become more comfortable.
They seem more relaxed.
Their posture grows sturdier.

They talk with more speed and less effort.
They get on a roll, on a rant or on their soapbox.
They seem like they could go on forever.

Passion. It’s a beautiful thing!

As my hommie Curt Rosengren says, "Passion fuels your career success, strengthens your confidence in your abilities and inspires the persistence it takes to make your dreams reality!"

Well said, Curt.

AND, HERE'S THE BEST PART: Asking about passion is a MILLION times more approachable then asking someone, “So, what do YOU do?”

(As my eyes roll…)

Because of COURSE, we’ve been programmed to default to that question as SOON as we meet someone. That way we can quickly, easily (and usually inaccurately) compartmentalize that person into a neat little box.

BUT, HERE’S THE REALITY: Most people don’t care.

See, it doesn’t really matter what you “do.”

It matters who you ARE.

And in my experience:

Who You Are = What You’re Passionate About

Because passion is everything.
Because passion is what (truly) connects people.
Because passion is the most approachable thing in the world.

THEREFORE: A successful conversation is one in which PASSION is discussed.

Especially if you’ve just getting to know somebody. Steering the conversation into the territory of somebody’s passion is the perfect way to create an engaging, unforgettable encounter.

The challenge, however, is making the transition.

See, if you’re too deliberate with your questions, it may come off as rapport seeking, as opposed to rapport attracting.

Or, you may sound like an unappointed career counselor or a motivational speaker.

And that’s no good.

That’s why you need to be careful. Because if someone gets the impression that you’re only asking passion-finding questions to “fix” or “coach” or manipulate them, they probably won’t open up fully and authentically.

So, without trying to hard, without probing and without being over-determined or over-intentional, here’s your three-word assignment: Ask about passion.

After all, your questions WILL differentiate yourself in the minds of the people you meet.

That is, if you ask the right ones. At the right time. And in the right way.

Hence, today's list:

25 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love

1. If you could do just one thing all day long and get paid well for doing it, what would you do?
2. If you could only give one speech, for one hour, for one million people, what ONE WORD would that speech be about?
3. If you could only have one section of the bookstore to visit, which section would it be?
4. If you could only subscribe to ONE publication for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5. If you could only work 2 days a week, what would you do?
6. If you could only work 2 hours a week, what would you do?
7. If you could take a sabbatical for one year, where would you go and what would you do?
8. If you didn’t have to work, what would you do all day long?
9. If you were the last human on Earth, what would you still do every day?
10. What activity always makes you lose track of time?
11. What activity gives you the most energy?
12. What brings you to life?
13. What could you talk about forever?
14. What things are you able to do, without even trying?
15. What do you like to do, just for the fun of it?
16. What do you love to do that (you can’t believe) people actually pay you money to do?
17. What do you love to talk about?
18. What do you most enjoy making?
19. What have you always found to be easy?
20. What is the one thing that people couldn’t pay you NOT to do?
21. What pictures or wallet items do you ALWAYS show to people?
22. What questions do you look forward to be asked?
23. When you don’t know what to do, what do you find yourself doing to find your way?
24. Why do you admire the people you admire?
25. You, yourself, are at your best when you’re acting HOW?

- - -

OK! Think you’re (now) ready to start asking some of these Passion-Finding Questions?

Not so fast, Oprah.

Before your start spouting off a bunch of unusual questions to complete strangers, remember a few things:

o Make the right call. Some of these questions are more penetrating and personal than others. So, be sure your timing, context and wording are appropriate. You don’t want the other person to question your questions!

o Don’t overdo it. Now that you’ve read this monstrous list, choose 3-5 of your favorite questions to incorporate into your lexicon. (Any more than that will be too much to remember!) In fact, you could even write your questions on a little card to keep in your wallet as a handy reference.

o Keep it real. When asking PFQ’s, be careful they don’t sound too calculated, rehearsed or unnatural. I suggest you practice asking your favorite questions a dozen or so times until you’ve routinized, internalized and normalized the dialogue.

Ultimately, when you ask someone about her passion – ESPECIALLY a customer – it pays off BIG time in the world of service.

Here’s how:

1. The customer starts talking about her passion.
2. That passion becomes intertwined in the sales conversation.
3. The customer builds and customizes her product or service WITH you.
4. The customer takes ownership since she helped create it.
5. The customer buys it.

Passion! It’s a beautiful (and approachable) thing.

So, next time you meet someone, avoid asking, “So, what do YOU do?”

Instead, invite them to talk about what they love.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
If you were the last human on earth, what would YOU still do every day?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the (full) list called, "86 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love," you know the drill! Send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I'll give you enough PFQ's to last a lifetime.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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