Questions can Change your Conversation

An interesting article from Fast Company identifies a conversational tool – Asking Questions.

Ask yourself: If you could interview like Walter Cronkite, would you get more value from your meetings? Would your mentors become more valuable? Would your chance encounters with executives in elevators and thought leaders in conferences yield action items and relationships?

The answer is yes.

“As someone who had little to no experience in business–outside of running my own one-man freelancing operation–all that’s really saved me (so far) from madness are the skills I used as a journalist,” says Evan Ratliff, who wrote for magazines like The New Yorker before founding his startup, The Atavist. One of those skills, he says, is “being able to formulate questions that deliver useful answers, whether from advisors or clients or whomever.”

Good questions can move your business, organization, or career forward. They squeeze incremental value from interactions, the drops of which add up to reservoirs of insight. Of all the skills innovators can learn from journalists, the art of the expert Q&A is the most useful.

The problem is, most of us ask terrible questions. We talk too much and accept bad answers (or worse, no answers). We’re too embarrassed to be direct, or we’re afraid of revealing our ignorance, so we throw softballs, hedge, and miss out on opportunities to grow.

In theory U and design thinking, we always begin with a sensing phase. One of the key things one must do is to formulate questions that will drive the sensing. Get this wrong and the entire process will be for naught. 

One great guide we share from is the “Art of Powerful Questions” by Eric Vogt, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs. Grab a copy here and unlock a real change to your conversation.

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One response to “Questions can Change your Conversation

  1. Pingback: 3 Rules to Spark Learning | Webbitizers·

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