They’re what got you here and what can prevent you from moving forward.
As a child, did you like the know-it-all? As an adult, your response is probably the same.
The belief that you must always have an answer morphs into the dreaded curse of knowledge.
Fortunately, there is a cure.
It takes confidence to stop supplying answers and start seeking them.
Developing the skill to ask good questions takes persistence and practice. The four parts of asking a skillfully crafted question involve:
- Words – Most questions elicit a simple “yes/no” answer. Instead, use questions that provoke dialogue to gain understanding of what others think. To accomplish this, begin your question with words or phrases such as, “What…” “Why…” “Tell me about…” or “Help me understand…”
- Tone – The tone you choose creates the energy behind your words. Voice tone determines whether you sound judgmental or curious. Select the proper tone of voice so others feel safe bringing their thoughts/ideas to you.
- Gestures – Facial gestures and body language are visual reinforcements of your intent. Your face communicates, “You bore me” as easily as it states, “I’m interested in what you think.” If you want people to be open and honest with you, be sure your face gives them permission.
- Silence – This can be the toughest part. If you really want to hear what others have to say, be patient and wait… wait… wait. How long? Until they’re ready to speak. Resist the temptation to jump in and save them. The best way to honor someone after asking a question is to sit in the silence with them. It’s only awkward if you’re awkward.
Everyone has answers. Few people use well-crafted questions as a way to effectively listen and learn from others—allowing them to share their knowledge and expand yours.
Are you ready to differentiate yourself in your next conversation?