Answers to Sally's Excellent Question About Questions!
Dear Vision Mentors,
Sally asked a great question about how much to ask your Correspondent about herself -- I paraphrase -- and here is my response in case it's helpful to anyone else:
Don't be nervous; you'll be magnificent, and I believe your correspondent might be nervous, so think of your job as putting her at ease and that may settle your own nerves.
I have found that indeed, an image of her life, as you so beautifully put it, will come into focus. This has been true with both my Correspondents; that I, too, would like to ask a gazillion questions, but that all will be revealed over the course of your relationship. That is, you can certainly ask all the basics in that first call or Skype, and you'll begin to get a sense of how much she wishes to reveal or feels comfortable revealing. Then at some point, you may begin to feel on more equal footing, at which point she will probably ask, with genuine interest, about your life.
So, be completely open and feel your way. You can start by asking her, for example, what particular experience has inspired her to get her voice heard, and go from there, because that one question will open a Very Big Door. Then you can give her a ton of positive reinforcement, and then begin to sense if you can ask about her current work situation, living situation, etc. I feel that all those things lead into whether she is in an area of immediate, current conflict and danger, or whether she is not, but is advocating for those who are.
Follow your instincts, and maybe start with questions related to her work and her passions and her community, and in due course, maybe in your second call/Skype, begin to ask about her family, living situation, etc. The more personal matters. You will soon know what she wants and needs to talk about with you.
You'll know. Watch for her cues as best you can and trust your inner guidance from there.
Hope this is helpful. Keep reaching out, any time!