A. "29 Questions That Make People Let Down Their Guard and Be More Authentic" (post) lists 29 "[o]pen-ended inquiries that ... build trust every time."
1. The questions "dive into a person's history, likes and dislikes, personality and values, and they all give the impression that their individuality is of interest and consequence."
- "They're also questions that allow you to continue the conversation with personal information of your own."
- "That kind of sharing can help the other person relax and serves as a demonstration that openness is perfectly OK."
2. Note "the right question is only the start. How you ask it is just as important."
- "Avoid a frantic pace or tone, and mirror the other person's body language."
- Perhaps "ask these questions one-on-one rather than in front of a group."
- "A little at a time, you'll ask your way to impenetrable trust."
B. The Uses of Starter Questions
Such starter questions can be useful for the following [select questions appropriate to the context, of course]:
- Establishing rapport in class, committees, or collaborative groups
- Furthering discussions, inquiries, follow-ups, or reflections
- Relationship-building in assessments, departments, etc.
C. The Questions
"If you really want to break through someone's shell in a kind way, hit them with questions that encourage authenticity like those below":
- "What's your opinion on...?"
- "What's on your mind today?"
- "Where/How did you learn that?"
- "What would you do next?"
- "Can you explain your rationale?"
- "What does that mean for you?"
- "Which people do you admire or look up to?"
- "What's the best way for me to help you?"
- "Are you comfortable/feeling OK?"
- "Is X working/enjoyable for you?"
- "What's your main goal?"
- "What makes you laugh?"
- "What do you like to wear most or feel most comfortable in?"
- "What do you like to do on your free time?"
- "What is your favorite part about...?"
- "What would you change?"
- "What motivates you?"
- "Have you ever...?"
- "What has your experience been with...?"
- "What do you know about...?"
- "What's the biggest value to you?"
- "Would you mind sharing...?"
- "Is there anything else you think is important?"
- "What else should I know?"
- "What would you do if...?"
- "What do you think is the best way to...?"
- "What is most convenient for you?"
- "What are your expectations?"
- "What's your preference?"