You’ll Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask… (Flashback)

The devil is in the details and there’s no more fertile ground for relational bad-doing than what’s been left unsaid. Learning to ask more disciplined and purposeful questions will help you increase communication’s effectiveness, decrease unvoiced assumptions and keep devilish surprises out of your interactions. So, this week we’re looking back to 2015 for some timely advice about questions…

You’ll Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask…
(Flashback)

Discovering possibilities, opportunities and potential takes the same skills as uncovering ignorance, incompetence and evasion. It’s all in how you ask the question.

Executives, lawyers, salespeople and anyone that’s ever been in a relationship can benefit from a deeper understanding of questions. The topic is so important that in 2014, John C. Maxwell dedicated an entire book to the connection between leadership and asking good questions.

Here are 6 commonsense ways to ask better questions.

  1. Be specific: Clear questions generate clear answers. Specificity doesn’t mean that you need to structure your questions narrowly, but state them clearly. Remember, the information you request also defines the information you won’t receive. This is especially true in evaluating strategic progress with rich activity levels. If you don’t know the information you need, it’s unlikely you’ll receive it.
  2. Listen: A question is only as good as your ability to understand the answer. Life is full of nuances, so an answer may contain information or shadings you may not appreciate while you are hearing the response. Be thoughtful and give yourself time to consider the answer and its implications.
  3. Don’t play ahead: Avoid thinking about your next question while someone is answering your last one. Show respect and care by being in the moment.
  4. Avoid judgmental responses: Great questions facilitate great conversations. The point of the conversation is to learn, build trust and develop a platform for future interactions. Providing judgmental feedback is a sure way to shut down the entire process.
  5. Follow up: Having taken the time to consider the answer purposefully follow-up with clarifying questions.
  6. Open up: It’s a two-way street, others are likely to mimic the degree to which you let your guard down, share openly and be yourself.

As always, I invite you to share your comments and experiences directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Until next time. Stay connected.

Original Post: September 4, 2015 (http://jeffkaplan.com/2015/09/youll-only-get-answers-to-the-questions-you-ask/)