Building stronger connection

Fast Friends exercise

Today at Stanford GSB, I did an interesting exercise developed by Arthur Aaron at Harvard University almost 30 years ago.

In this exercise, you work with a chosen partner, each of you takes turns to ask and answer questions. Each person must answer each question before proceeding to the next. Try to get as many as you can within 15 minutes.

After the exercise, in just less than half an hour, suddenly complete strangers can build closeness toward the other, a connection that we didn’t have before.

10 questions to ask

  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest
  2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  3. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
  4. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
  5. What do you value most in friendship?
  6. What is your most treasured memory?
  7. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
  8. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
  9. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
  10. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

The exercise left me to wonder: how could it happen? How did complete strangers get together and build up a rapport so effectively? What do you think?

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