Ask Questions to Win Cooperation
As an aid in starting a conversation, try using questions, not questions such as “Are you comfortable?” which are answered by a single word, after which the topic is closed. Ask questions that will get the other fellow started on a story, such as:
“What was your first job?”
“How did you manage during the fuel shortage?”
“What was the most frightening experience you ever had?”
Talk never dies down when someone knows how to ask questions that get others relating to some experience.
The right questions are first aid for the tongue-tied. Just ask questions so that others do most of the talking, and they will be telling their friends what a wonderful conversationalist you are—because you had them do most of the talking.
~ Donald A. Laird , The Technique of Handling People (1943)