Ask: “What matters to you?”

When we see that someone is facing a challenge or struggling with something (big or small), we typically might ask them, “What is the matter?” or some variation. For even more meaningful and potentially helpful conversation, we should also ask: “What matters to you?”

This concept comes from the healthcare field. Practitioners are now asking this question and they are seeing that it helps them to build trust, develop empathy and understand their patients better.  The care that the patients are getting is more personally directed to the whole person, not only to the presenting issue.

This powerful question is simple, yet profound. It is key to creating deeply personal engagements with anyone.  It gives a sense of a ‘talking with’ type of conversation which is much more powerful than the more typical ‘talking at’ or ‘talking to’. Such conversations can help you get a deeper understanding of what really matters to them. This is the foundation of developing genuine and meaningful partnerships.

If you asked “What matters to you?”, what would you learn? How would that impact your relationship and what you do with and for each other?

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