I never did well in history classes that focused on names, dates, and events. However, if the discussion laid the foundation with economic, political, or social forces that propelled those events, I was captivated.
It is the same way with relationships. If I know your journey, what you or your business has overcome, the dangers and opportunities that are looming, it becomes a foundation for all our interaction.
A speaker from a long time ago proposed that everyone is refined by significant emotional events in their life. Most of us can remember those events like they were yesterday and although some of them will remain very private, others when shared generate interaction and propel influence.
This brings us to the practical application of asking questions that can lead to a conversation of significance.
There are many approaches, however for me, I have asked the following question thousands of times:
“You’ve come a long way, could you tell me about your journey?”
This type of question is respectful, and the ensuing conversation provides a vision of how you can support them, and whom they might be able to serve.
“Every person I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from them.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”