Quick Definition: A question that cannot be answered with a short or one word answer.
An open ended question is a question that is designed to elicit a full response from the respondent, rather than a brief one. It is the opposite of a closed ended question, which can be answered with a brief answer, often just a “yes” or “no.”
Pick up artists use open ended questions to get women involved in the conversation more and get them sharing things about themselves. For example, on a day 2, a PUA might ask a woman where she’s from (a closed ended question), then follow-up with: “How was it like growing up there?” (an open ended question). The second question really encourages the woman to share information about herself, which helps build rapport, and the PUA can continue the conversation by rewarding and relating.
As you can see from the example, open ended questions usually come after closed ended questions. Closed ended questions tend to be informational, whereas open ended questions dig a little deeper and explore the reasoning and emotions behind the question. In general, closed ended questions start with “who, what, when,” whereas open ended questions start with “how” or “why.”
- “How did it feel like when…?”
- “Why did you choose to…?”
- “So what was it like to…?”
Of course, even the best open ended question can still get a short response, especially if the PUA hasn’t built enough rapport. For example, a woman might answer the question “How was it like growing up in Hawaii?” with a simple answer like “It was good.” The best thing for the PUA to do in this case would be to use the vacuum to encourage her to put more into her answer, or to answer the question himself, to get her to relate to him.
Open ended questions are great for keeping a conversation going, but asking too many of them in a row can lead to an interview pickup situation. It’s important to mix them up with statements to keep the conversation from going stale.
I used a couple of OEQs to keep the conversation going.