Questions are one of the most effective communication tools. Questions help build strong relationships and innovative plans. They cultivate a valuable exchange of ideas and information. When you ask someone about themselves or their work, you make them feel valued. On the flip side, if you focus on speaking—about yourself, your business, your goals—rather than asking questions, your conversation won’t have the depth and inclusion that conversations have when you ask questions.
Use these approaches to tap into the power of questions to achieve positive outcomes:
Commit to asking several questions in all of your interactions. You will immediately develop a stronger relationship and a more enhanced insight about the person or group with whom you’re speaking.
Rather than guessing the meaning behind what was said, clarify and confirm what you’ve heard. This type of questioning helps eliminate the negative consequences of making assumptions.
When you take the time to ask thoughtful questions, you demonstrate a high level of respect and care.
People can’t read minds, so if you’re confused about something, ask. Otherwise, you may never receive the information you need to complete a task correctly. You and your team will reap the rewards of higher collaboration and improved morale when you have all the information you need to do your best work.
Great communicators understand that open-ended questions provide valuable insight. Next time you are having a conversation include the following open-ended question starters: “Tell me more about…”, or “What else should I know about…”
So, get out there and ask questions! Identify at least three opportunities you have within the next week (e.g. meetings, prospect calls, conversations with friends, e-mail replies, etc.) to practice asking inquiry and probing questions. And learn about asking conditional questions in this blog post from Dardis Communications.