We’ve long sung the praises of open-ended questions in messages, but what kinds of open-ended questions are more likely to get you a response?

Asking a question that piques the recipient’s interest and encouraging them to be thoughtful in their reply greatly improves your chances of getting a reply. Here are a couple examples of what we mean.

Scenario #1

Let’s say you’ve noticed in her profile that she’s a Beatles fan. So are you. Great! You probably both enjoy food-eating and air-breathing, too. Point being, saying that you also dig the Fab 4 isn’t going to get you noticed. Making an interesting observation and phrasing it as a question, however?

Try something along the lines of: “Everyone tends to split the population into Beatles people and Stones people, but don’t you think it’s more appropriate to compare the Beatles to the Kinks?” It’s specific, it shows that you have similar interests and it’s thought provoking.

Scenario #2

Let’s say he’s a neurophysicist. Let’s also say that you couldn’t know less about the subject. You could say “Wow it must be interesting to be a neurophysicist,” like every other non-neurophysicist who’s messaging this guy, or you could stand out by asking a question that makes him consider his profession in a new way.

Try a question like this: “Does thinking about attraction on a sub-atomic level all day affect the way you think about attraction on a social level?”

The goal of a thought provoking question is to make the other person say either A) “Wow, you know I’ve never thought about it like that, but…” or B) “I think about this ALL THE TIME (I just didn’t know anyone else did…).”

Thought provoking questions help you to stand out from the pack and they keep the conversation going. Everyone’s going to ask a marathon runner how many hours they train. Be the person who asks if crossing the finish line is really the best moment. Or if a cheering crowd seems to raise their endorphin level. Or if they like running for speed or endurance better.

You get the idea.

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