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Become More Memorable: Ask Powerful Questions

At a conference this past weekend I met dozens of people with whom I talked mostly about business.

One of those people was Don (not his real name), who within minutes of meeting was asking me some pretty direct and probing questions of a personal nature.

For example, after hearing about my family status he said “Playing it safe?“.

Hmmm… pretty bold“, I thought, considering the statement could have been interpreted as an assertion / assumption simply masked with an interrogative tone.

I chose to take it as a question and not only did I have fun answering it in the moment, mulling over other possible answers kept me entertained for a good portion of 16 hours of travel the following day.

So, of all the people that I met at that conference, whom do you think will remain most memorable? 🙂

You guessed right.

Although Don and I discussed business as well, our encounter will likely stick in my head long after the others have melted away – not only because he showed more personal interest, but because he challenged me to express myself more fully. In other words, he asked powerful questions.

Powerful questions tend to:

• dig deeper and e thought-provoking
• reveal underlying assumptions
• invites creativity and new possibilities
• generate curiosity in the listener
• stimulate reflective conversation
• stay with the recipient
• raise more questions

Can you think of any powerful questions you might be willing to ask someone the first time you meet them?

Share your comments below.


  1. Rosalind Gardner says

    Hey Bernie,

    It may surprise you to know that I’m actually REALLY shy in public settings — and get this, I have another life offline as a public speaker!

    Getting out there and just doing it was the only way for me to overcome that fear, and in the process I’ve gotten a little better at making conversation… and trust me, I’m not quick witted, humorous or funny… MOST of the time.

    I think it all boils down to remembering that people don’t bite. 🙂

    Anyway, my next post is for you. Look for it.


  2. I agree with your interest in Don – I find myself intereseted in the same type of people. However, it all boils down to a person being quick witted, humorous, and funny. My problem is that I’m not those – not in the beginning. I’m very shy – even on line, and it takes me a while to loosen up. And of course, it helps if the other person is the bold, quick witted one – then I can follow suit – I just cannot initiate humorous, quick witted conversation.

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