When you meet someone new, making a positive impression is crucial, especially if you want to interact with them again.

Think about it. Who doesn’t want to keep interacting with someone who is thoughtful and engaged, polite and conscientious?

Everyone wants to interact with nice and thoughtful people. And, if they’re genuinely interested and curious about you, you’ll want to talk to them even more.

That’s why, when you meet someone new, the easiest way to make a strong impression is to ask powerful questions. By asking insightful and elevating questions, you communicate your interest in getting to know them, while also showing yourself to be thoughtful, too.

So how do you ask powerful questions? How do you use questions to make a positive impression?

There are three keys, which are easiest to implement in this order:

  1. Be Genuinely Interested. You can’t convincingly feign interest. Sooner or later, people pick up on your insincerity, and suddenly you’ve left a negative impression. Instead, seek an aspect you find compelling. The easiest one is often someone’s life story. Everyone’s journey is different, and the variation makes it compelling. Seeking out their story creates the foundation for deep engagement and meaningful conversation.
  2. Laugh or Learn. At a base level, life stories are a series of smaller moments. In conversation, seek out those little moments. One of two things will happen. Either the story will be whimsical and you’ll laugh with them, or the story will be insightful and prompt a discussion of lessons learned. Laughter and learning are both great ways to build a positive relationship!
  3. Ask a Follow-Up Question. This third key seems obvious, but the impression it makes is unbelievable. After someone answers a question, highlight a specific detail and ask about it. Or, if you really want to stun someone, connect two previous answers to a new question. Follow-up questions provide a chance to show your engagement and thoughtfulness and deepen the conversation. Make sure to use them!

As you begin implementing these keys, you’ll have some moments that don’t go very well. People might get confused by a question or you might find yourself without another question to ask.

That’s perfectly okay! In conversation, you’re always learning. The more you ask questions—the more you implement these keys—the easier this whole process will become. Soon you’ll be asking powerful questions all the time, sparking meaningful conversations and developing new friendships with anyone you meet!

Getting good with your questions? Build a LinkedIn Profile to start building meaningful relationships with professionals!