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Conversation Starters and Relationship Builders

By Joe Takash

While we build relationships incrementally, many of us struggle with advancing them to a more open, trusting level. The following are questions that can expand relationships from one level of connection to a multi-dimensional level, creating profitable opportunities and a more comfortable atmosphere in which to communicate. Make these habits and they become you. The benefits: Higher self-confidence, increased likeability, an ability to make a difference in helping others and the bolstering of your own market value.

1. If you seek and value professional opinions*

“Mark, what are your thoughts about…?”

“Sandra, I wanted to get your perspective on…?”

“Richard, what advice would you give me on…?”

“Connie, what path did you take to get to this point in your career?”

2. If you want to get to know the complete person

“Where are you from originally?”

“What do you like to do outside of work?”

“Do you have any plans this weekend?”/ “Did you do anything fun last weekend?”

“Anything interesting coming up that you’re looking forward to?”

3. Ways to capture and speak to the specific interests of others

“How is your training coming for the triathlon?”

“How is your daughter’s college search going?”

“Are you excited about moving to the city?”

4. How to show compassion and encouragement

“I’m sorry to hear about your father---is there anything you need?”

“Congratulations on the promotion---how does it feel?”

“You were instrumental in the success of this project----what can I do to help you?”

5. Relationship Breakers-Questions you should never ask**

“So how much money are you pulling in these days?”

“What happened to your hair line?”

“Is it me or are you really packing on the pounds?”

*You personalize all connections by using the person’s name in conversation.

**The ability to laugh at oneself is the most important slice of the humor pie
 and crucial for relationship building.

Read other articles and learn more about Joe Takash.

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