Remember the goal of discovery topics is to find little nuggets of information about the other person
Imagine this process as if you scouting a field looking for potential areas to dig for gold
Potential areas to dig for gold are these little nuggets of information about the person
Gold is the emotional knot or blockages that the other person has
The more emotions (gold veins) are involved in these informations the higher the chance you will discover the emotional blockages (gold)
Yes you are pretty much doing a therapist job with one unique difference, you are not a stranger to the listenee
So you are able to access much deeper and more sensitive parts of that person's heart and soul if you do it right
How to start the discovery questions?
These are typically questions people ask each other if they have the interest in knowing one another
They usually can be categorized into 2 types of questions:
- General discovery questions
- Specific discovery questions
1. General discovery questions
The purpose of these general discovery questions is to look for areas for potential conversation
The answers here gives listenee the freedom to talk about whatever they want
These questions can be as simple as:
"How are you?"
"What did you do today?"
"How was your day?"
Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication
As simple as these questions sound, they have a profound impact on the listenee
Just by asking these questions, you are showing that you at the very least care about others well being and want to know what is going on in their life
By consistently asking these questions to your friends and loved ones over time, they will eventually naturally share more and more of themselves with you
As the listener, your job is to pay close attention to everything they say so you can ask to expand further in detail with specific discovery questions
2. Specific discovery questions
Emotions are great indicators for you when digging for gold (emotional blockages)
Your goal here is to look for emotional ties in each word
Take mental notes of each topics listenee bring up then ask to expand on these topics
Examples of specific discovery questions can be:
"What were you stressed out about?"
"Can you explain more about ____?"
"How do you feel about ____?"
The underline can be replaced with the emotional topics that you have discovered
Let's take the following conversation for example:
Sam: "Hey, how was your day?"
Hannah: "Thanks for asking. I had a long day at work, a bit stressed out honestly but it's all over now."
Sam: "What were you stressed out about?"
Hannah: "Just everything. The work environment is not so friendly towards females. On top of that, I am worried about my own future and where I am headed"
After Sam asked the general discovery question, Hannah mentioned "long day at work", and "a bit stressed out".
"A bit stressed out" is more emotional, so Sam chose to ask to expand more with "what were you stressed out about?"
Hannah then replied with two potential topics, "work environment is not so friendly towards females", and "I am worried about my own future"
The word "worried" is a signal that this is where more emotions are
So if Sam wants to dig deeper, he has to ask more about that with the drilling questions.
Drilling questions are what will talk about next
Before we go, I need to emphasize the great importance of recognizing which words or topic have more emotions in it.
If the listener is not able to do it well, the conversation will go nowhere
This is what distinguishes great listeners from mediocre
If you want to have deep conversations
If you want to build stronger connection and bond between friendships, relationships with one another
You have to be a great listener
The ability recognize emotional ties with each things the other person talked is the foundation of a great listener