Leading with curiosity means approaching a situation, conversation, or relationship with an interest in learning more. It involves asking questions and seeking to understand the perspectives of others. It means exploring new ideas rather than approaching a situation with a fixed mindset. Curiosity also helps us to avoid assumptions. When we are curious, we are more likely to look for evidence and to consider multiple perspectives rather than jumping to conclusions.
Curiosity also fosters connection. When we approach conversations and interactions with inquisitiveness, we are more likely to be interested in what the other person says. We continue the conversation by asking questions and listening to the responses. By leading with curiosity, we create a sense of mutual understanding and respect, which are vital components of solid connections.
Mutual understanding, trust, and rapport are also essential aspects of connections.
Imagine the following conversations.
The conversation on the right was painful. She, in this case, gave minimal responses, but as he continued to lead with curiosity, he discovered more and more about her until he found a connection between the two of them. He may have no interest in basketball or sports, but they found a connection when he led with curiosity.
Connections lead to more understanding. More understanding leads to more connections. That makes sense. As people learn more about each other, they find even more connections.
President Kennedy once said, “What unites us is far greater than what divides us.” He was talking about Canada and the US at the time, but I think it relates to everyone. Look at the FIFI World Cup. The US calls it Soccer, and the rest of the world calls it football. England left the EU, and Germany is still in it. There were Christian nations, Hindu nations and Muslim nations housed under the same roof, cheering for the same sport. If these political conflicts can find simple connections with which to talk about, can’t we all find connections?
Curiosity also helps us avoid misunderstandings or assumptions. Imagine meeting a new friend. He’s a Vegetarian. He must like all vegetables. I’ll feed him a soy latte cause soy sounds like a vegetable since you grow it, He’s allergic to Legumes, and he dies.
Sort of a worst-case scenario. But what if I had led with curiosity? I meet someone after hearing he’s a vegetarian. I ask him about his favorite foods. He says “Salad.” I reply, “Oh wow, I like salad, especially salad with edamame. Does he like salad with edamame?” Nope – he is afraid of salad with edamame. We avoided a misunderstanding, and I didn’t assume he loves soy. A silly example for certain. But clearly, one that shows Lead with Curiosity. It will keep you out of trouble.
How to Teach “Lead with Curiosity”
Every Card in The Conversation Game starts with a question. So start there. When playing the Conversation Game start with the initial question.
Now under that question is a follow up question, or suggestions for multiple questions.
Ask your teen that question. How many questions can you ask without changing the subject? The rules are the question has to refer to something they have already said. Get all the children involved. Start with any subject. “I went to the museum today.” Much like the game Telephone it is doubtful that you will still be discussing museums at the end of the conversation. But as long as the questions don’t change the subject, everyone is winning. We played this game growing up and my sister was the Queen of the transition. You can read more about how to bring questions around to what you want to talk about. BUT I don’t recommend this for when you are practicing. It makes the game very funny, but it leaves out the next skill set which is be agreeable.
In the five-step process for creating lasting connections, we want to remember that C-A-B-L-E Connects us. and C-A-B-L-E starts with Curiosity
Do you have a fun story about curiosity – I’d love to hear it. Connect with me below.
CONNECT WITH C A B L E
The third skill set from the mnemonic is Body language. Connecting with C A B L E. Find out more about the five conversation skills every teen should master.
Our Next Skill (second letter) being Agreeable helps your teen show genuine interest, avoid dominating the conversations, not interrupting, and not being judgemental. Understanding conversation etiquette helps garner a positive and respectful social environment where these conversations and connections thrive. Being nice supports these budding connections.