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Why Asking Great Questions Makes You a Great Listener – Rick Warren

“A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with insight can draw them out.”

Proverbs 20:5 (GNT)

One of the clearest signs of a great listener is when someone knows how to ask open-ended questions.
To really engage someone in conversation, you have to stop asking questions that only require a “yes” or “no” answer. Those questions won’t get you anywhere! Instead, you have to start asking open-ended questions that allow someone to really share beyond a one-word answer.

For example, instead of asking, “Did you enjoy the concert?” you could say, “What was your favorite part about the concert?” It may seem like a subtle change, but it makes all the difference in how someone opens up to you and continues the conversation.

If you really want to go deeper in your relationships and better understand your kids, spouse, and friends, then you need to put some more thought into how you phrase your questions.

Proverbs 20:5 says, “A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with insight can draw them out” (GNT).

There’s one phrase that will make you a master listener—“tell me more.” You’ll need to use it over and over again as you interact with all kinds of people throughout your life.

When people open up to you, don’t let them stop after two or three sentences. When they finish, say, “Tell me more.” Then, after they’ve talked a few more minutes: “Tell me more.” Then, just when they think you’re done listening: “Tell me more.” Every time you ask for more, you’re going deeper and allowing them to express more of themselves.

You may tell people you really care about what they have to say, but the best way to show them is to ask for more. It tells them you’re interested. It proves you’re paying attention. And attention is love! Asking open-ended questions shows people you’re willing to give them your time, your focus, and your love so they can be heard and understood.

Draw deep from the well. Doing so doesn’t just improve your listening skills and conversations. It also transforms your relationships.

Talk It Over

What ways can you start being a better listener this week?
Why are people so often hesitant to keep saying “tell me more” in everyday conversations?
How does giving people your attention show them you love them?

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