A Simple Practice #1 – Curiosity

This is the first of a series, we are calling A Simple Practice.  Each month we will share a simple tool, question, attitude to practice to improve the quality of your conversations.


Curiosity – The Key to Understanding Others

One of the most powerful tools you can use to shift a conversation is listening with genuine curiosity – curiosity that invites the speaker to share what is really important to them. Instead of advice, fixing, rescuing, or grilling the speaker with Sgt. Friday ‘just the facts” kinds of questions, we encourage you to keep it simple. Just ask this question and listen.

Here is your first installment: 

Set up:       I’m curious.
*Question:  Why is that important to you?


Raise your awareness: Begin by simply paying attention to your conversations. Notice which ones seem to be stuck in a holding pattern and don’t move the conversation ahead, but only rehash the past.

Practice: Next, at some time in the next few weeks, when you recognize you are having that same conversation, take a risk. Ask the speaker: “Why is that important to you?”

Pay attention to your tone of voice. Be sure you convey that you are genuinely curious and want to understand.

Set aside your certainty. You may even find it helpful to setup the question with something like, “I am curious. Why is that important to you?” Then, just listen. No fixing, saving, or rescuing. Just listen.

Notice: Did something different happen? Did the conversation shift? Did something shift in you?

Remember you are only practicing. You may not get the results you were expecting. People may ignore your question. That’s okay. You tried. Try again in the next conversation. Think of it as action research.

We invite you to record your reactions in your journal. If this practice inspires you, please share this invitation with others. If you would like to connect to others sharing A Simple Practice, share what you learned in the A Simple Practice Facebook group. Click here to ask to join the Facebook Group: A Simple Practice.

Want to know more? Join our monthly free virtual A Small Group conversations. This gives you an opportunity to experience these simple practices in a small group. All are welcome to these free conversations. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, November 19 is our next call. Normally, these calls are hosted the 4th Wednesday of the month @11:30am-12:45pm EDT Click here to learn more and register