I breakfasted just before Christmas with a senior, international broker. He subtly sought to win our business. He did this by asking a series of open questions, each following from my answer to the previous one and leading me inexorably towards the logic of his service offering. It was skilful and compelling. It forced me to think about the use of questions in our business conversations.
I suspect that sometimes we don’t ask enough questions, or the right ones, before we volunteer our opinion on matters. (A first & relevant question might be “Does the recipient actually want our advice?”) We all know people we consider good conversationalists – often because we do most of the talking and they don’t: they ask the questions. As Harvard’s Rohit Deshpandé has said: “ My teaching philosophy is that it’s all about the questions, not the answers. If you want the answers, go to Professor Google. Here, we teach you how to ask the right questions.”
My resolution for 2017? – “Talk less, listen more. Ask more questions”. What’s yours?
Happy new year to all, Ben Q