Four Tips To Get The Conversation Started Using The FORD Method
Would you like to make a connection through conversation and don’t have a clue where to start? Well, you are in the right place with these four tips to get the conversation started using the FORD method.
Dialogue doesn’t have to be hocus pocus, and you certainly don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to engage in some meaningful dialogue. You can facilitate practical fun, meaningful conversation by asking a few simple questions to those around you.
Oh my pounding heart and sweaty palms
How do you feel about talking to people? Is it easy for you to strike up a conversation? Would you like to develop your skills and be more fluid in your communication? Do you cringe at the thought of “making conversation.” Maybe you are at a loss for words when you first meet someone. Possibly, you just want to make a connection and don’t know where to start.
Do you ever feel your heart pounding, your palms sweating, and you just wish someone would talk to you. Perhaps you find yourself trying to think of things other than the weather or COVID-19 to discuss. How about that deafening awkward silence, does it bother you?
Well, guess what? You are like many of us out here. That’s right; you are not alone. Connection is one of our greatest needs as humans. We want it, we need it, and now, we are going to help you get it!
Open-Ended? What’s that?
Let’s start with the basics or, as I like to say, ask a better question. The proper term is open-ended questions or leading questions. Simply put, these are questions that allow an opportunity for additional dialogue rather than a yes or a no answer. These questions can be tricky, and you may need to practice. Though, once you start using them, your dialogue will open up tremendously.
Do you ever get stuck for open-ended questions?. Well, if you do, then read on because we have some fun leading questions for many situations.
Now, I love to talk to people or interrogate, as my partner Robb would say. Developing effective question asking can be tricky. So, I was pretty excited when I ran across this little nugget of information.
I love acronyms
My research led me to this fantastic acronym F.O.R.D. Simply stated, The F. O.R. D. method stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams. These hints and reminders help us to find more interesting and not so obvious information through open-ended questions.
I put together some of my go-to questions that may be helpful the next time you find yourself stuck. If nothing else, remember the acronym, and you will find a lead into a conversation. Be encouraged to use these as a jumping-off point and allow the dialogue to develop naturally. There is no reason for rapid-fire unless, of course, it is an interrogation. Allow the conversation to be natural and flowing.
These are Four Tips to get the conversation started using the FORD method
It is not always apparent as to whether or not someone wants to talk about their family. Asking them a direct question such as “ Tell me about your family” can sometimes trigger some unhappy emotions. Personally speaking, I like to wait until I am clear on a persons’ familial relationships before I close in on what could be a sensitive territory.
Try these instead and be discerning. Knowing what to ask and when to ask can be a little tricky. Navigate your conversation slowly until you find your flow.
- Where’s home for you?
- What are some of your family traditions?
- What was it like growing up in your neighborhood?
Occupation is a subject that needs a little more attention and follow-up. Sometimes the question may seem to be open, when in fact, the person on the other end clams-up on us. Be prepared to follow up with another similar question:
- What kind of work do you do?
- How did you come into that line of work or occupation?
- Tell me about your typical day in the “office.”
Everyone likes to talk about their “fun” life, hobbies, weekend ventures, and the places they’ve traveled. So ask them! Personally speaking, this is one of the most comfortable places to start. You will even find that small children respond to these questions.
- Tell me what you did over the weekend.
- When things get chaotic, how do you clear your head?
- What are you reading these days?
- What are some of your favorite restaurants?
- Where was your last getaway?
Some people think this question is prying. For me, it is just another way to communicate. Indulge your friends and let them tell you about their dreams and aspirations.
- When did you know you wanted to be…..?
- What is your silliest fear?
- What did you want to be when you were a kid, and how did that turn out?
Hopefully, you will find value with these questions and using the F.O.R.D method. Perhaps you want more on this subject? Here’s a quick and easy download of 30 easy open-ended questions you can use with just about anyone.
Productive, engaging conversation is a skill, and you may need to practice.
I appreciate you stopping by The Conversation Community, and I hope to talk with you soon.
Be Mindful, Inspire Conversation, and Continue to Encourage each other.