10 Questions to Ask a Stranger Instead of “What do you do?”

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I’ve always found career choices interesting. It is part of why I got into the business of recruiting. I probably enjoy talking about what people do for a living more than most. But even I’m tired of being asked, “What do you do?” This question isn’t serving us anymore. It is making it harder for us to make genuine connections. In fairness to the asker, I know it is just an easy way to start a conversation. What I do with most of my waking hours is a fair place to start getting to know me.

The answer to “What do you do? “ is almost always informative, but rarely authentic.

This is probably because we all get asked the question so often that we respond with scripted talking points. We could tell someone what we do while failing asleep or jumping from a plane. I’m more interested in what people choose to say when they aren’t giving rehearsed answers. So here are 10 questions to ask the next time you find yourself chatting up a stranger. They aren’t too personal, but you will likely make a more genuine connection.

  1. What do you love doing?
  2. If you hit the lottery, what would your life be like?
  3. What keeps you living in this area?
  4. Have you ever experienced a miracle?
  5. Who is your favorite person in your office?
  6. Where’s your favorite place?
  7. If you could heal one problem in the world, what would it be?
  8. When was the last time you sang out loud?
  9. What is your driving like?
  10. How do you serve?

What’s the best question a stranger ever asked you?

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