Minisode Monday #80 | How to Ask Questions That Uncover Motivation

Welcome to Minisode Monday, where we kick off the week with something quick and actionable — to make you more magnetic and effective — that you can implement right away.

Are you trying to understand the motivation behind someone’s alleged actions? Here’s an exercise from episode 651 guest Frank Sesno, author of Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change.

Let’s get to it!

The Cheat Sheet:

  • As a hypothetical scenario, imagine you’re in charge of prosecuting someone charged with plagiarism. Simply asking if the subject is guilty is pointless — they’ve already denied it.
  • Instead, write down ten questions that are less directly confrontational. Examples: Why would somebody possibly do something like this? Why spend time doing something like this? Who would have the resources to do something like this? What resources do you think this person might have used? Would this have been difficult to do if you had been guilty and done it? Who might have wanted to make it look like you did it? What other plausible explanations are there?
  • Asking these kinds of questions is a great way to figure out someone’s motivations as well as getting them to build a narrative for you.
  • Coming up with these types of questions — even if you don’t end up needing to ask them — helps you think inside, outside, and underneath for a more complete picture of any scenario.
  • Worksheet for This Episode

  • To learn more about social dynamics and productivity hacks, take the Art of Charm Challenge by clicking here, or text AOC to 38470.
  • Also be sure to check out our Social Capital Intensive here!
  • Let us know about how you put today’s Minisode Monday into practice! Tweet with @TheArtofCharm in your response or write to Jordan directly: [email protected] (he actually reads everything)!


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Download Worksheet for How to Ask Questions That Uncover Motivation

Jordan Harbinger - author of 952 posts on The Art of Charm

Jordan Harbinger has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war zones, and been kidnapped -- twice. He’ll tell you the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of) just about any type of situation. Here at The Art of Charm, Jordan shares that experience, and the system borne as a result, with students and clients.


in Minisode Monday, Podcast