How to Ask Questions Without Interrogating


A common sticking point I help clients with is asking good questions.  People tend to fall into the trap of asking a bunch of pointless questions when they meet a new person.  Your person of interest (POI) quickly tires of incessant questioning and exits the conversation.  How can you avoid interrogating your POI?

You need to know why interrogation is such a pervasive problem.  The most common reason people ask strangers too many questions is to find a commonality.  Interrogators are searching for a topic that both people enjoy so conversation can become smooth and effortless.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting a pleasant conversation, but the interrogation method won’t get your there.  You can’t create a comfortable atmosphere by cross-examining your POI.  Good questions share specific traits.

  • Specific and to the point – Effective questions are concise.  Edit unnecessary words.  Get to the point.
  • Get the POI talking – At some point you’ll want the POI to talk more than you.  Aim for a 3:1 ratio.
  • Help you learn about the POI – Learning more about your POI helps you to engage emotionally and create a connection.
  • Paint a picture – Certain types of questions help to elicit desired emotional responses.
  • Control the conversation – The right questions will assist you in keeping the conversation on track.
  • Have a purpose – There should be a reason for your question.  Try to anticipate the POI’s response.
  • Uncover wants and needs – Learning the POI’s hidden desires aids you in customizing the interaction.  There are two types of needs.  The first is an actual need.  The POI is consciously aware of actual needs.  The second type of need is an unrealized need.  As the name implies, the POI is unaware of this need.  In a successful seduction you must convince the POI that you can satisfy one or more of these needs.

A key to identifying your POI’s needs (actual and unrealized) is to vary question types based on the situation.  Ask different types of questions depending on the results you’re trying to get.  For example, ask data gathering questions while planning logistics.

The POI often disguises his or her true motives as a built-in defense mechanism.  When handled in a nurturing manner, questions help:

  • POI to reveal true motives without pressure
  • Uncover additional needs the POI may have
  • Build emotional connections and identify needs by getting the POI to talk

When you are able to get the POI talking, you put yourself in a better position to earn his or her trust.  Trust is an essential element for any romantic relationship.

Effective questions can be broken into 4 categories.  Each question has specific advantages.

  • Open-ended – An open-ended question solicits more than a yes or no answer, and gets the POI to open up and provide more information.  Open-ended questions also identify needs and assist in making an emotional connection.  They probe to uncover real issues instead of superficial conversation.
  • Closed – A closed question is used to solicit a brief response.  They keep the conversation on track, and focus the POI’s attention on you and how you can meet their needs.  Closed questions get at specific information to uncover true needs.
  • Clarifying – You ask clarifying questions to make the POI feel heard.  They help you gain a true understanding of what the POI wants and needs, and give the POI an opportunity to talk.  Clarifying questions improve the relationship.  They allow the POI to feel heard.
  • Hypothetical – A hypothetical question is a “what if” question.  It gets the POI emotionally invested, and it provides an opportunity to form a connection.

Answering a question properly is as important as asking it correctly.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard clients ask excellent questions and forget to follow up with a proper response.  A question is worthless if you don’t follow through with the appropriate reply.  There are 5 steps for responding to the POI’s answer.  You can remember them with the acronym CLEAR.

  • Clarify – Make sure you truly understand what the POI is saying.  He or she will appreciate it.
  • Listen – Listening gives you the information you need to build attraction.
  • Empathize – Demonstrate a willingness to make a connection.  Empathy fosters loyalty (which helps if other people are competing for your POI’s attention).
  • Acknowledge – Make a statement to ensure the POI feels heard.  Empathy statements are best (“I’m sorry to hear that.  It must have been scary.”).
  • Respond – The best way to respond is with a statement that demonstrates your ability to fulfill a need (“I bet you’re excited about running your first marathon!  I’ve done a few.  We should totally train together!”).

The question-answer portion of an initial interaction is incredibly important.  A lot of dating coaches advise their clients to avoid questioning the POI.  Those coaches think it’s boring.  Wrong!  Inquiry is an essential piece to the seduction puzzle.  You just need to know how to ask and respond properly!