Some questions have been shown to trigger parts of the brain that make the other person feel good when they answer (in a biochemical sort of way).
❓Why it matters. Understanding this allows us to ask questions that build a better connection, making our influencing efforts faster and easier. It also explains some of the talk-fests we endure.
🤓 The details: Research from Harvard's psychology department indicates that when someone is prompted to disclose information about their beliefs and opinions, there is increased neural activity in the areas of the brain associated with rewards.
In fact, people felt so good that the research revealed that participants were willing to forgo earning some extra money for the opportunity to talk about themselves... yes, you read that right.
Is this a good thing? This research might trigger flashbacks to a time when this worked too well: all it took was one question to reap a 15-minute monologue. In the right context, that could have been a gold mine. In another, a dreadful bore. That's the downside.
What's the upside? Crafting functional questions that help the other person feel good about the conversation helps build a stronger human connection, making our influencing and negotiation efforts faster and easier.
🛠️ How can we harness this? The easiest way to do this is to ask questions about the other's opinions. For example:
"What is your take on ....?"
"What would you like to have happen?"
"What do you think this could mean for ...?
"How do you see this panning out?"
"Why do you think they made that call?"
Such questions go beyond the superficial and prompt others to share more about themselves, which is integral to building connection. And they feel good doing it.
The bottom line: Deeper questions for deeper relationships.