Two Questions to Ask to Find Out What Makes Someone Tick

2 Questions to Ask to Get to Know Someone

If you’ve read this blog for more than a hot second, you know my involvement with the New York Junior League is incredibly important to me and has been for a long time.

What we do through the NYJL is several-pronged: we train our volunteers so that they may then go out and be effective with the many organizations within the community that we serve. Throughout the year, we have volunteer trainings to teach our members skills to help them be more effective — whether that’s leadership trainings to hone our interpersonal skills or trainings that teach us about the struggles facing some of the populations we serve.

We’ve always trained our leaders through chair trainings and trainings for our management council and board, but there’s a renewed focus on really giving us the skills we need to excel. Yesterday, I was invited to our Chair Training Retreat, as I’m chairing our Transfers Committee for the next two years. (I also did a Snapchat takeover for them, which was really fun.)

Yesterday, as part of the training, Rachel Rider, an exec/career coach came in to talk to us. Over the course of a nearly two-hour training, we learned a lot of valuable lessons about delegation and management, but one exercise in particular stuck out to me.

We did this exercise in the context of learning how to better engage with the women we are working with at the League, but it’s universal — I think it works both in professional settings as well as in relationships, both romantic and with friends.

In order to best understand others, said Rider, you need to know their context — both what makes them tick and what turns them off.

The Two Questions to Ask

1. What gives you energy in your day?

2. What depletes your energy in your day?

(Relationship/job, etc. can be substituted for day here.)

From that, she said — be curious. Ask open-ended questions.

For example, my answers to the questions:

1. Working out (pretend to be surprised), connecting with others, having alone time

2. People who seem unwilling to meet in the middle, inefficiency, large crowds

While even the top level of these questions felt a bit like therapy to me (I totally looked away from my questioner the way I do in any hard therapy session), you’re supposed to ask follow-up questions. A follow up question for my answers for #1 might be: Why does having alone time give you energy? My response would be because it gives me a chance to unwind/recharge my batteries.

Your turn: what GIVES you energy / what DEPLETES your energy?

3 comments on “Two Questions to Ask to Find Out What Makes Someone Tick

  1. Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales

    I love this! Such a more meaningful way to ask people’s likes and dislikes and really get to know them. I think mine are quite similar to yours! Definitely working out and being active, spending time in nature, and spending time with people who are passionate, driven, and goal-oriented energizes me. I also really need my time alone. People who are very negative, not willing to look at things from a different perspective , or not willing to try really depletes me.

  2. Nikki Lynne Stephanou

    I read your post just as I started my Membership Council agenda for the Philly League. Totally adding this exercise! Thank you for sharing. I am going to share your post with our COO and President! Thanks for sharing!


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