Show Personal Interest—By Asking Questions and Listening
1 Most people enjoy expressing their views but dislike being lectured or interrogated. As Christian ministers, therefore, we need to learn the art of drawing people out with questions.—Prov. 20:5.
2 Our questions should invite, not intimidate. When preaching from house to house, one brother asks, “Do you feel that there will ever be a time when people treat one another with dignity and respect?” Depending on the response, he follows with, “What do you think it will take to accomplish this?” or “Why do you feel that way?” When witnessing informally and in public places, another brother asks those who have children, “What do you enjoy most about being a parent?” Then he asks, “What are your greatest concerns?” Notice that these questions allow people to express their views without putting them on the spot. Since circumstances vary, we may need to adjust the topic and tone of our questions to fit those in our territory.
3 Drawing People Out: If people are willing to share their thoughts, patiently listen without needlessly interrupting. (Jas. 1:19) Graciously acknowledge their comments. (Col. 4:6) You might simply say: “That’s interesting. Thank you for sharing that with me.” Commend them if you can do so sincerely. Kindly ask additional questions to find out what they think and why they feel as they do. Seek common ground. When you want to direct their attention to a scripture, you might say, “Have you ever considered this as a possibility?” Avoid being dogmatic or argumentative.—2 Tim. 2:24, 25.
4 How others respond to our questions may depend much on how we listen. People can tell if we are listening with our heart. A traveling overseer observed, “When you show patient willingness to listen to people, it has the amazing power to attract and is a wonderful expression of warm personal interest.” Listening to others accords them honor, and it may move them to listen to the good news that we seek to share.—Rom. 12:10.