How to Ask Higher Quality Questions

Photo of author

By Mary Clements

One of the greatest things in life to me is feeling connected, seen and heard. For those of you who have been around in our newsletter a while, you know that I am obsessed with connection and making spaces where people can feel comfortable to express and be themselves.

As the pandemic restrictions start lifting again, many maybe experiencing post-pandemic anxiety. I know I have felt this way on occasion and I find the best solution for this is to surround myself with different tools. For example, sometimes I have found myself trying to remember how to have a “normal conversation”, you might have felt this way at one point too. 

One of the tools I rely on is a “game’ that I was introduced to a few years ago at an Entrepreneurs Organization learning day. It is a set of cards called Ungame, which simply put, is just a deck of cards with different types of questions from light topics to help get acquainted to deeper ones relating to experiences and values etc. At the conference, the speaker put the cards in the middle of the table and we all picked one and each took turns listening to the answers. Since then, I actually use these cards quite a bit during our French conversation classes or tutoring sessions (of course we pre-translate the questions in French 🙂

In the situation now where I might be wondering, “how to have a normal conversation”,  I just recall some questions from the Ungame deck and this gets me out of my head where I can hold a space to listen to the sharing of the other person. I know it sounds a bit simple, but in a moment of anxiety, it’s great to have something simple. Another personal use for the cards is with my husband, I keep the deck on the table at dinner and pick one out to discuss. They are greatly helpful to us for re-connecting at the end of a busy day.

Here are some examples of questions:

-When do you feel most confident?
-How does music affect your life?
-Describe your dream car?
-What would you like to achieve in your life?
-Talk about the most significant person in your life.
-Talk about a movie you have seen recently.
-Share something you enjoy doing with your family.
-Tell about a time you created something special.
-Complete the sentence: I am the kind of person who…”
-What seems to be the biggest problem in your life right now?
-Tell about a special gift you received when you were a child. (The kids always laugh at this one and say “I am still a kid!”
-Which holiday has the most meaning for you? Why?

Our primary tool for demonstrating empathy is the willingness and ability to ask higher quality questions. For me, these decks provide a nice and easy tool for doing just that.

What are some of your favourite questions you like to ask or be asked?