How To Ask Follow Up Questions

By Mo Bunnell

What's On My Mind

I got some great feedback from last week’s article on follow-up questions.


​Well designed questions give you a triple win:

​1. They light up the pleasure center of the answerer’s mind

​2. They are highly correlated to likeability

​3. They teach you things you can’t learn anywhere else, allowing you to position yourself uniquely.

​The key to success:

Asking questions that have the answerer provide their unique, personal perspective.

​Those answers are what social scientist call self-disclosing answers, and they're powerful.

​Now, let's go deeper on 2nd level questions--a follow up question after the person answers the original question.

​Follow questions have immense power:

1. They drive even more likability.

2. They show you’re listening.

3. They show you care.

(Science of Follow Up Questions HERE.)

Figuring out the wording of follow-up questions is much easier than initial questions.

Pay attention to when someone’s passionate.

They could be passionate about anything.

​Whether they are passionate about strategies, processes, analytics, people, or something else, be sure to follow that passion with follow-up questions.

If someone described something in the past, follow-up questions ask for specifics.


​How did you pull off surprising the kids?

​What did your boss think of that experience?

​What was your favorite part?

​How did working with her impact the rest of your career?

​As you reflect on that, what are you most proud of?

​So what were the results?

​What was his biggest learning from going to the conference?

​Would you do it the same way again?

​If someone describes something in the future, again, follow-up questions ask for specifics.

​What are you most excited about?

​Who else is going to benefit?

​How are you going to measure results?

​How will you both agree on what you’ll do for your 30th anniversary?

What’s next for your fitness now that you’ve learned so much from having a Whoop band?

​What’s your new boss expecting of you after that project ends?

​Follow-up questions can be strategic or process oriented. They can be about analytics or people focused.

​The research shows almost anything works.​

These are just examples to get you started.

​That’s the key—get started.

​I show you how to get started below.

What's We Just Created

Have you been checking out the greatest hits we've been cranking out over at the podcast?


​This week's was a mash up of...

​1) Top scalable marketing expert Nathan Barry, CEO of ConvertKit
​2) Hint Beverage CEO Kara Goldin and

3) Top worldwide marketing guru Jay Baer.

​What a lineup!

You can check it out along with the other episodes HERE.

What's Coming Up

Man, I am having fun recording interviews for Season 3!

​I'm going to interview 25 or 30 of my favorite clients from the 20,000+ people that have gone through our GrowBIG Trainings.

These are the most interesting people and very best rainmakers in their industries on the planet.

I'm learning so much.

​And I'm bringing them right to you, really probing on how they think about BD along with how they get the results they get.

These episodes are insane.

We're all set to publish the first round in short, hard-hitting episodes dropping daily starting October 11.

​You'll want to make sure you subscribed to whatever podcast platform you love.

HERE is the video podcast link on Apple.

​​HERE is a nifty link to guide you to the show on whatever audio platform you use.

​(Note that last one is the cleverly named if you ever want to tell someone verbally.)

Follow or subscribe so you get these as soon as they drop.

What's Worth Lingering On

There's something getting in our way of asking more follow-up questions.

​While they're actually really easy to ask, people generally don't ask them enough.

My personal take: given their power, most people don't ask follow ups nearly often enough.

Heck, in almost any situation, all you have to do is ask what top worldwide CEO trusted advisor Mike Deimler's often asks as a follow-up question.

With a little lean in, he often says: "Tell me more."

​I've heard Mike say this dozens of times, and it's worked every time.

(Watch one of my favorite podcast interviews ever with Mike HERE. And Mike, happy birthday!)

Phrasing follow-up questions are just not that hard.

If you're not sure, just say "Tell me more."

​Three words. It's really that simple.

​So why don't we all ask more follow-ups to get all those benefits ourselves, shine the light on others or let their pleasure center light up?

Here's why.

We want to shine the light on ourselves.

​Avoiding that is what we can do to ask more follow-up questions.

​We need to get ourselves out of the way.

​Here's a simple metric.

​When you're talking with a client or friend, try to have them talk about 75% of the time.

In most cases, that's plenty of time to talk about yourself.

​Your business comments will be targeted and add lots of value.

​Your personal comments can be focused on finding and reinforcing commonality, which is another key correlation to likeability.

Keep that rule of thumb in your head: 75% them and 25% you.

​Follow-up questions are the key.

​Don't judge your interaction success on how smart you sounded.

Judge it on how smart they sounded.


ps. If you missed last week's article that tees up the idea of follow up questions, you can see it HERE.