Are we asking the right questions?
Have you ever asked someone a question and had them look at you with a puzzled expression?
Has the response you received not matched what you thought you had asked?
Last week in our Mastermind group the topic was focused on developing the skill of powerful questioning. This was the perfect follow up topic from the last Mastermind where we discussed how to develop professional listening skills as part of our business communication process.
The value of questions
Today let’s explore how we can use questions more powerfully in business communication.
Questions can be labeled in many categories: The traditional who, what, why, where, when and how, is open-ended, meaning the recipient needs to respond with more than a “yes” or “no”. The goal is to have the other person expand on the topics at hand so that you can learn how best to respond.
Every business decision is made based on assumptions. Here are some key insights to consider to ensure clear business communication.
The first question is to ask yourself “What am I assuming in this scenario (the situation we are discussing)?
Know that there are always two sides of the story, yours and theirs. What does the other person need or want from me? What do I want or need from them? It is critical to look at the situation from both sides.
Ask more, tell less
Be okay with doing more asking rather than telling. Asking questions to clarify what you know versus what you think you know will help you discern facts versus speculation.
Ask appropriate follow up questions. Delve in more deeply to get the answers you need to move the conversation forward.
Avoid commenting on each answer given by the other person, as the real answer you need may not be revealed until you’ve gone several questions deep.
Get comfortable with the silence as the other person considers the answer. You may be surprised at the information shared after a few seconds of pause in the conversation.
In the recent book “Power Questions” recommendations are made for the importance of drawing out others, asking thought provoking questions, soliciting solutions, showing interest in others, building relationships, and knowing thyself. The right questions lead to new opportunities and business success. Check out the book here.
The worst question
Wondering what the worst question is to ask? There are great insights in this article, “The Absolutely Worst Question to Ask.” Read it here.
Take a second look at the information provided here and identify at least one new idea you can apply this week.
Business Success Dynamics provides the added support and a safety net through business coaching. Please contact me for an introductory session to discuss how you can achieve success through powerful business communications.