Empathy and curiosity together help us cultivate connections. When we connect with others, we can see past bias and value the people around us. We also help everyone feel respected, included, and valued.
To connect with someone for the first time, start safe. Ask questions that help you connect on everyday topics. The intent of your new conversation is to cultivate a connection, and the suggested “Start Safe” questions provide more than just small talk; they are asking about experiences and emotions.
Once the initial connection is made, consider asking some deeper questions to enrich your conversation and forge a greater connection. For example, you may have worked with someone in another part of the organization, but you have never connected beyond dealing with the actual project work. These suggested questions provide an opportunity to understand others on a deeper level.
Start Safe Questions
What are you working on?
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
What did you do before you came to this college? What did you like most about it?
What are your talents? What are you good at?
What is your favorite place?
What do you do to get rid of stress? How does it help?
What are you interested in learning more about?
Dive Deeper Questions
What is your next adventure?
What are some things you’ve had to learn and unlearn?
What small gesture from a stranger made a big impact on you?
What is the most challenging thing you do on a regular basis?
What do you do to make the world a better place?
What opportunities do you have for growth and development?
What is something you have been meaning to try?