How I learnt to avoid the worst question ever: ‘What else?’

According to an article I read recently, the topics people usually end up talking about in most social settings are work, maids, children etc. I guess that’s because these are the things they have in common (or think they do).

The easiest way to connect with people and converse with them *is* to find commonality, no doubt about it. Think of any group you enjoy being part of – there is some commonality that binds the group and conversations are fun because everyone ‘gets’ the jokes. Learning more about the interests of your friends – what they like, what they hate – helps in finding more topics of commonality and helps you connect better. This is where quizzing has helped me a lot – to connect with strangers as well as friends and relatives! If I’m sitting in a pub and someone answers a question on House M.D. or Sherlock, there is an unconscious connection made (though Sherlock would find it difficult to connect with them. Humans, that is).

Quizzing helps you in avoiding that worse case scenario when it comes to conversations: What else? It is all pretty much downhill from there. The best friends I have are the ones I found through the world of quizzing. I have many friends that I first met outside of the world of quizzing, but the best conversations that I have had with them have happened courtesy quizzing. Quizzing or the game of Q&A (whether you’re asking or answering) is after all, a manifestation of the most innate qualities that defines us as human beings – curiosity. You’re not just a passive consumer but are alive to the conversation. We owe it to ourselves and our friends to have better conversations!

To give you an example: Luigi Galvani had once proposed the idea of animal electricity based on the twitching of a dead frog’s leg. Allesandro Volta later found that it just proved there was no such thing as animal electricity; the frog’s leg was simply a conductor of electricity. Now, a Galvanic reaction is also the principle used in primary batteries to generate electrical voltage. I studied metallurgy, hence this is of added significance to me. A few years ago, I had an accident on a two-wheeler as I lost my balance while trying to avoid crushing a frog that was crossing the road. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself too badly. Couple of days later, I was recounting this story to two of my friends and one of them quips,”Oh! You had a Galvanic reaction!” Now that you know the background, I’m sure my friend’s response to my accident makes lot of sense and explains why I enjoyed it so much and remember it 13 years later.

It’s simple. The interesting conversations stay with you, the boring / mediocre ones don’t. Isn’t it time we skewed the ratio?

What else?


 Harish is co-founder, Choose To Thinq and Thinq2Win