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Ask people questions about themselves, their lives and their experiences. Taking an interest in others, helps build relationships with them, and shows care and attention. There are different types of questions, which can be used to support helpful dialogue.
Open and closed questions
Asking questions shows you are interested and helps someone convey what they are trying to say.
Open questions like "Who? How? What? Why?" open up the conversation and encourage someone to speak. Closed questions generally require a one word answer, which stop conversations. For example, if you ask "Do you like ice cream?. If that question is reframed "What do you like about ice cream" you tend to get more information.
It is important not to jumping in with a suggestion or a question when they are in the middle of speaking.
A useful way of asking questions is by reflecting back portions of what people have said. Reflecting uses their own words to help them think about what they are trying to say, and shows you are listening. For example: 'You said you were really stressed at that moment", this can then be turned into a question, "Could you tell me more about that?".
Asking others questions about themselves, conveys love to them, shows you have time for them, and helps them open up to you. Communication theory shows that the types of conversations that happen in relationships grow over time, from topics such as reporting facts such as 'the weather is nice today', to later deeper, more meaningful communication.
Sharing the gospel often requires relationship, and so it is important to invest time and energy taking an interest in others to grow relationships. This is not necessarily about making friends just to share the gospel, rather investing in new and old friendships to give them the best thing you have, Jesus.
People are listened to, feel valued and cared for. Relationships are developed.
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