This is perhaps the most succinct and natural sounding alternative to the dreaded “What do you do?” It’s a far superior question because it opens up the range of available responses for everyone. If you’re a full-time parent, you definitely have an answer to this. If you have a 9-5 job that is not very demanding but a side hustle you’re spending every free moment on outside of work, then your answer to this question would be different than your answer for “What do you do?” If you’re retired but volunteer a lot, this question is also right in your strikezone. Seriously, now that you have this you shouldn’t ever again need to ask “What do you do?” Continue reading Where does most of your energy go during the week?
You don’t even have to be planning a birthday dinner to ask this question! The point is that people always like to be helpful so it’s good to frame the question in a way that gives someone an opportunity to solve a problem for you. And everyone has restaurants they like. There are also lots of good follow-up questions that can come after you start talking restaurants. “When did you last eat there?” “What’s best on the menu?” “What was the occasion that brought you there most recently?” All of these will lead to more authentic connection that the rehearsed answers to “What do you do?”
Continue reading I’m planning a birthday dinner. Any great recommendations?
I’m not a fan of filler conversations about the weather. It’s the quintessential surface-level small talk. But that conversation is also kind of unavoidable sometimes. It just happens. When it does, this question is an awesome bridge to more interesting stuff! “It sure has been cold lately.” “Yeah, you said it. I wish I had vacation plans somewhere warm. Do you have any trips coming up?” Boom. From there you can talk about memorable vacations, recommendations, that time you attempted snowboarding… Continue reading Do you have any trips coming up?
It might seem like a stretch to lead right out with this question so you can always just say, “Out of habit I’d normally ask what you do but instead can I ask you something different?” Then asking about personal habits opens the door to any number of answers: Playing the guitar a bit every night. Checking in with parents once a week. Flossing. All kinds! I promise it’s not as awkward to ask this as it might seem! Continue reading What personal habit are you proudest of?
It sounds weird but just try it. Once even. Maybe you’re at a friend-of-a-friend’s housewarming. When you get to that part in a conversation with someone new where you’d normally ask “So what do you do?” give this a try instead. If the resulting conversation isn’t interesting or smooth, at least it will be DIFFERENT. Continue reading What cause are you passionate about?
If the person you ask wants to make this question about work, he can respond accordingly. If he wants to make it about passion projects, creative hobbies, family, books, or whatever, then he can do that too. Let’s get out of the “work” box! Continue reading What’s something you’re really into right now?