Getting To Know People In Seconds
by Sam Crowley
Most everyone belongs to some kind of a club or group. Perhaps it is a civic group, or a service club, or a church group, or even a family group. How often have you attended a “meeting” of your group, and not spent any time getting to know the people in the group? Too often groups are only concerned with agendas, reports, useless chitchat and weather reports, or getting business done. Life is too short to miss the opportunities to get to know people better and foster meaningful relationships.
People love to talk about themselves, their interests, their families and their life experiences. And, if you listen carefully, you can learn a lot about them as they share these things. The problem is that unless they are asked, they probably won’t tell. Then there is the additional issue of limited time in most club or group meetings. Good news… it can be done, if done briefly and regularly.
One president of a Kiwanis club (a community service club) uses a very effective “exercise” in the beginning of the club’s meeting. To officially start the meeting, the members are asked to all stand, do the pledge to the flag, have a brief prayer (some clubs follow with a song), then sit down and proceed with the meeting. But, before letting the members sit down, this leader had them ask one or two people a specific question, or had them tell someone a certain something about themselves. And, low and behold, the members started learning things about one another… and relationships started developing.
So, here are some suggestions for the types of directives and questions to use.
Things related to certain times and seasons:
What was your most memorable Christmas?
What was your most embarrassing birthday surprise?
What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?
Where were you on 9/11?
Tell someone your favorite summer vacation.
Tell someone about the hottest day you remember – where you were and the temperature.
Tell some one your favorite time of year, and why.
Things related to people and places:
What is your favorite color, and why?
What is your favorite food?
Who are you most like… your mom or dad?
Where did you meet your spouse?
Who is your “hero” and why?
If you could be someone from the past, who and why?
Tell the funniest statement you’ve heard from a child (maybe it was you).
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If you could “fix” or change one thing in the world today, what would it be?
Tell someone your middle name, and why it was given to you.
Tell the funniest joke (keep it clean) you can think of.
Using these to get you thinking, and a little creativity, you can come up with many more. Think about the things you would like to know about those with whom you associate. Think about what you would like to tell others, if they would only listen… then start asking and telling.
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