Questions and Answers are the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a conversation. Asking a good question is more difficult than it appears. Let’s look at a Johnny Depp Interview. Focus on the questions after you have read and enjoyed Johnny’s answers.
Question 1: What attracts you to odd hats?
Johnny Depp Answer 1: I don't know, maybe I read too many Dr. Seuss books when I was a kid. I hadn't thought about that, actually, the hat thing.
Question 2: Are you fond, in films, of wearing long hair? Is it something that makes you comfortable, to have your hair long, or does it matter?
Johnny Depp Answer 2: No, I'd always thought, probably very stupidly, I thought that, you know, if your hair is down…you're hiding. So you're invisible, you know? People can't see you. Now I have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter who won't let me cut my hair.
Question Usage Analysis
This question is simple and straightforward. However, the interviewer uses a “What” question. Most people will use a “Why” question.
Ex: Why do you wear odd hats?
The “what” style question is a bit softer and more original.
The interviewer uses an “Are you… ?” and a choice question: Is it “A” or “B”? (A=long hair is comfortable, B=long hair doesn’t matter to you)
“Are you…?” is a closed question not good for conversation because the answer is “YES/NO”. However, in this case it is a rhetorical question. The Interviewer uses the question to emphasize the idea of ‘long hair’. The interviewer doesn’t expect an answer and moves to the next question quickly. The interviewer’s use of the A or B question format is because he or she wants a short style answer focused in a specific way. The feeling is: lets find out about Johnny Depp’s beautiful, long hair but not focus too much time on the topic. An A or B question style signals to the answering person what the listener wants to know specifically and in a short answer style. This style is also a soft way of finding out information from another person.
There are many question style strategies. These are two simple ones you can use in your next conversation. Try to make your question ‘soft’ but ‘unique’ like with Question 1. Also, try to use a ‘rhetorical question’ plus an “A or B question’ to find out specific information without sounding too demanding as in Question 2.
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