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When connecting with others, open-ended questions serve as a gateway to identifying whether someone is receptive to our ideas, business, or our services. This is the first step to building a community that is grounded in mutual support and value exchange, which is essential for any brand. Here are five strategies that can be used in conjunction with open-ended questions, to help us build a lasting community.

Open-ended questions help us to identify the right people

There is no better way to figure out whether someone has an open mind, open heart, and open hands than by asking them open-ended questions. There is a large total addressable community (TAC) and we can identify the right people for our community if we ask the right questions. Once we’ve identified the people who fit in our community, we can start to transition their interest to join.

There is nothing more powerful than a community

With a community that is willing and readily able to help each other (or who know other people who can help), we can generate lasting loyalty. When people combine forces in their efforts, they can leverage the situational knowledge of others and avoid paying the “dummy taxes” that others have. That added momentum can make all of the difference when building or growing a business. A community of open minds, hearts, and hands that will help each other, as well as buy from us and sell for us, will set any brand up for lasting success.

Figure out what people do and do not like

We can only determine how we can provide value for someone if we understand what they’re currently doing today, as well as what they do and do not like about it. Open-ended questions are the best tool for us to help make these determinations. By being more interested than interesting and learning how we can best provide value for others, we position ourselves to be of service in ways that make an impact on their business or personal life.

Don’t waste time on a closed mind

Another benefit of asking open-ended questions is it helps us to determine whether someone has a closed mind at that time. It takes infinitely more energy to re-engineer a closed mind than it does to share a vision with an open mind, so asking questions can help us to avoid spending that energy on the wrong people. It is important to understand that this could be a timing issue as well, as few people have a closed mind all the time. We may need to let time pass before we try again to figure out whether someone has an open or closed mind.

Be humble enough to learn

When we ask open-ended questions of others, we need to prepare ourselves to hear things that might not be easy for us to take in. We need to avoid letting our ego get in the way when we ask questions and do our best to learn, with intention and attention. We cannot let the need to be right, superior, or offended get in the way of accepting the input of others and using it to continually build our community.

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