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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wording Questions Differently to Avoid Complacent Responses

How was your day?
What did you do today? 
What was your favorite part of today? 
Were time and life both pleasant in their passing today? 
How exciting were the events in your life today? 
Was your day as awesome as mine was?
Asking the above questions all basically have the same intention, it's an inquiry about someone's day.  But they elicit completely different answers and more critical thinking on the part of the responder.  “How was your day?” is such a commonplace question that not much thought really goes into answering it, and there’s a good likelihood that you will get a pretty quick, pretty generic answer.  Whereas if you were to offer a more thought provoking question, the answer might take a few more seconds and might be a bit more pensive.  Trust me, you will get some strange looks from time to time, but someone having been asked a question will generally try to give an answer.
Another benefit of asking generally unasked questions is that you can come across as asking about someone’s day while implying that something positive should be included in the answer.  For instance, “Was your day as good as mine?” is infinitely more positive and healthy to ask than “Did your day suck as much as mine?”  Essentially it is the same question, but the implication is very different.  Each question exudes a feeling of positivity or negativity, respectively and gets the answering party thinking in one direction or another. 
This is also a great way to test your vocabulary and grammar skills.  By conjugating sentences that are carefully crafted to elicit certain responses, the questioner must be more diligent about wording.
What are some questions you can use to replace the commonplace everyday questions you might use now?

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