Prompts to Elicit Stories

I’m still working through Tools of Titans which has been, pun-intended, a fairly titanic undertaking in its own right.

What’s difficult is the pacing — I have purposely allowed myself to read only one chapter a day because the density of information and the required time to actually digest the material is serious.

In fact, if I’m to be honest, you could take a few of these chapters and think about it for a week (if not more) and you’d be good to go.

But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t fatigued. I’d be lying if I said that there’s a really big part of me that wants to sprint the rest of the way. I’ve got many more weeks to go and I’m just ready to be done with it.

The content is great. The content is amazing. I’m just bored with opening the same damn book every single day (and the book is huge!). But that’s my immaturity speaking and my frustration with my impatience. I know, I know.

So, I’ll keep to the schedule. I’m down for it and, of course, I’d love for you to follow along!

Okay, so, to the point of this blog post…

Alex Blumberg was read this morning and I really loved this short and concise chapter for a number of reasons, but, mostly because of the great questions that he shares via his interviews and such.

Questions that elicit stories and emotion and that engage the interviewee into the depth of their minds and hearts. Here are some of the questions Alex suggests querying others with:

  • Tell me about a time when…
  • Tell me about the day (or moment or time) when…
  • Tell me the story of … (how you came to major in X, how you met so-and-so, etc.)
  • Tell me about the day you realized _________ …
  • What were the steps that got you to _________ …
  • Describe the conversation when …
  • How did that make you feel?
  • What do you make of that?
  • If the old you could see the new you, what would the new you say?
  • You seem very confident now. Was that always the case?
  • If you had to describe the debate in your head about (X decision or event), how would you describe it?

Lovely questions and ones that I hope to use in my own interviews and conversations. These are great — thanks Alex.

Originally published at John Saddington.