Asking Questions – Why Should You?

December 14, 2017

Have you ever been in an awkward situation where you’re at an office party or a networking event and you’re standing next to someone while there’s complete silence because neither of you have any idea on what to talk about? Additionally, you’re worried about how you may be portrayed to this person in your first impression or you’re worried the awkwardness will increase if you ask questions. Meanwhile, your head is thinking “How does he know the host? In what department does he work? Do we work in the same building?”

The good news is that research suggests that people who ask questions are more likeable than people who ask fewer to no questions. In fact, there was an experiment conducted at Harvard where volunteers were assigned to either ask a lot of questions or only ask a few. Once their conversation was completed, each participant rated how likeable the other person was. Through findings, researchers concluded that people who ask fewer questions weren’t as liked as the people who asked plenty more.

Of course, how and what we ask is just as important as the quantity. The Harvard research also suggests that specific follow up questions are the most effective. A good way to approach a follow up question is to:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Listen and understand the answer
  3. Ask a question regarding the answer

Not only does this make you more likeable, but it also shows that you are listening, which is an important trait to have no matter what you are doing. So the next time you are standing next to a person and you don’t know what to talk about, think: questions!


The Power of First Impressions

February 2, 2017

You all have heard the first impressions are everything, and you only have one shot at it. As soon as you meet someone new they are instantly sizing you up. It really doesn’t matter what the context is in which you are meeting, the people around you will instantly begin to judge you based on your outward appearance and behaviors. It takes about 4 seconds for someone to make their first judgement or assumption.

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Your clothing, whether we like it or not, is a big factor in how people look at you. A well tailored suit or dress compared to one that is slightly ill fitting instantly gives the impression of being wealthier and more successful. This are assumptions that we as humans make subconsciously, but happen nonetheless. ┬áThis doesn’t just apply to clothing either. People look at your hairstyle, bags, accessories, etc. Moral of the story is you appearance does matter, so take a little time to think about the image that you would like to portray to the world.

A strong handshake is also important, especially in the context of business meetings or interviews. The main consensus on handshakes are to keep them short and sweet. No one wants to shake hands with a clinger. And always maintain eye contact! This applies to personal and professional meetings and conversations.

The last piece of advice I have to offer is to get comfortable with small talk. It’s always awkward and sometimes uncomfortable, but it’s important. If you aren’t confident in your ability to hold a conversation based off of small talk, just ask questions. This will always be in your benefit. If at a later date you would like to reconnect with the person you can bring up a good talking point from your conversation so they have an easier time remembering you.