The Key To Asking Questions
When the person you’re trying to click with has finished mak- ing his point, the time has come to ask questions. Your inten- tion is to clarify anything you don’t understand. Ask one question at a time, and make sure you pause to listen well to the response. Repeat as needed until you’ve clarified every- thing and filled in all the blanks.
Most people don’t ask many questions, and when they do, they are often not the right questions. We may be afraid of looking stupid. Or maybe we think asking questions makes us seem weak. Or maybe we just think we’re supposed to have all the answers. Since we can think much faster (500 words a minute) than we speak (about 130 words a minute), it’s pretty easy for our minds to wander to what we want to say when it’s our turn to talk.
Good listeners understand the limits of their knowledge. They are not afraid to explore the unknown to build the con- nection. The key is curiosity. The less you think you know, the more you find out. And the more value you place on what you can learn by listening, the less distracted you’ll be with your own thoughts.
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.