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Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

Mars Rover Curiosity Has Tremendous Social Skills

After a perfect landing on Monday, the Mars rover will now spend 22 months looking for signs of life on the mysterious planet.

It’s an interesting name, Curiosity.

The rover’s main purpose: to learn about Mars by essentially asking it questions.

Who knew a robot could have such impeccable social skills?

Today’s ‘News To Live By’: leading through curiosity.

We live in a world that encourages the ‘me-first’ mentality. We strive for the most Twitter followers and love to rack up Facebook ‘likes.’ Foursquare even rewards us for telling people where we like to eat dinner and see movies.

So in a social situation, we sometimes assume other people want nothing more than to hear us talk about our own lives.

Enter the Mars Curiosity.

For nearly two years, the NASA rover will have one job: ask questions.

It’s a totally selfless act that we should try to emulate in our own conversations.

Try this at your next social function. Make it a point to chat with people about their work/hobbies and as best you can steer the conversation away from you. If someone has an interesting job, dig a little deeper and really understand what he does. Forget about you. Just ask questions and listen.

The person will come away feeling super (for talking about himself so much) and impressed with you for being interested.

The same goes at work. Take time to get to know new co-workers, and they’ll probably respect you for it. Even pepper upper management with questions when appropriate, and they’ll see you as someone who wants to learn and grow.

There’s just no downside to being curious of other people. You already know your own story so go hear about something new.

You never know what you might find — and who you might impress — by simply asking questions. Nowadays, it is a rare skill with a big reward.

What do you think? Are you generally comfortable asking people about themselves? Do you typically stop before digging into the ‘next-level’ questions? When is the last time you struck up conversation with someone random and it actually helped you (i.e. led to a job or networking connection)?¬†

…See what I did there?

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