Andrew Warner: Stop Asking Questions
Andrew Warner is an entrepreneur and host of the Startup Stories podcast, where he uncovers the secrets of the world’s best founders. Over the course of 2,000+ episodes, Andrew has interviewed everyone from Barbara Corcoran, to Gary Vaynerchuk, to the founders of Airbnb.
After building two startups of his own—one successful and one that failed—Andrew started Mixergy as a way to learn from other entrepreneurs. Today, Mixergy is a place where successful people teach ambitious upstarts through interviews, courses, masterclasses, and events. He is the author of Stop Asking Questions: How to Lead High-Impact Interviews and Learn Anything from Anyone*.
In this conversation, Andrew and I discuss what he’s learned about getting people to talk from thousands of hours of interviews and research. We explore some of the key tactics that he uses to help people open up in a genuine way. Plus, we discuss some common questions to avoid that may work against your goal to connect well with the other party.
- Help others get comfortable talking about themselves by revealing something about yourself first. They may not reciprocate immediately, but it often opens the door for future depth.
- Just a word or two can open up an entire new level of a conversation. Try using “Because?” or “How so?” as ways to hear more.
- People expect leaders to show up and have a direction for the conversation. Not everything needs to be phrased as a question — you may consider making requests like, “Tell me more,” to direct to conversation.
- Avoid asking questions that try to get people to articulate “most” or “best” answers. People spend too much mental bandwidth trying to rank-order instead of just engaging with the dialogue.
- When potentially uncomfortable situations come up, allow people an easy way out by giving them two paths they can go down.
- Stop Asking Questions: How to Lead High-Impact Interviews and Learn Anything from Anyone* by Andrew Warner
Download my interview notes in PDF format (free membership required).
- The Way to Have Conversations That Matter, with Celeste Headlee (episode 344)
- How to Ask Better Questions, with David Marquet (episode 454)
- Four Habits That Derail Listening, with Oscar Trimboli (episode 500)
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