The Third Question

Taking an interest in other people is a lost art. Our society teaches us to focus on “me.” We need to learn how to think outside ourselves. One extremely important lesson in that direction is what I call “The Third Question.”

When speaking with someone, try to get to at least three questions. Most people ask a question, then move to another topic or turn the conversation to themselves. It goes like this:

Person A:  What did you do this weekend?

Person B:  I went to the beach.

Person A:  I went to the park and it was very hot there, but we took a cooler and the kids played on the swings and we threw a ball around and had a great time.

Imagine how much more connected and valued Person B would feel if Person A instead asked at least three questions.

Person A:  What did you do this weekend?

Person B:  I went to the beach.

Person A:  That sounds great. Which beach?

Person B:  Fort Lauderdale beach.

Person A:  Did you actually go into the water, or was it too cold?

There’s nothing magical about the number of questions being three. It’s just a guide, and something to lodge in our memories. There are times when many more questions are appropriate.

By intentionally making The Third Question part of who you are, you will become a person who expresses true interest in others. As word gets out, you will be surrounded with people who love to speak to you, because your friendship will be to them like a cup of cold water in the desert.


The above is used by permission from the book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 e-mails about business and life by Steve Fales.


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