The most underrated tool of communication is posing a well thought out question that provokes the listener to think critically.
When you’re posed with a problem that has room for ambiguity, ask a clarifying question.
Seek to understand before being understood.
As leaders when a member of our team does something a certain way, different from how we want it done, do we balk at the way they did it and tell them to fix it? Or do we ask a question in an attempt to understand why they did it that way? To shift perspectives, we must provoke our thoughts to question our assumptions and norms.
Instead of arguing your point into understanding, could you ask questions and help your team uncover the path that led to your conclusion? Perhaps not a set of leading, yes or no questions, but hard-hitting questions that necessitate a discussion.
Relationship problems are filled with misunderstandings that can be fixed by learning to ask better questions.
If you ask a thought-provoking question and are met with an answer such as, “I don’t know”, that’s a good thing. Let that answer simmer. Let them ponder. Difficult questions are not meant to be met with immediate answers.
Questions leave room to engage; isn’t engagement what we seek?
Here’s the catch to asking questions: it requires us to listen better. Be prepared to receive answers you don’t want.
My mentor Max Keeping would always say it’s one thing to hear someone, and it’s another to listen.
A question opens up an honest two-sided conversation, breaking down the barriers of influence and power, and instead engages. When we seek to understand, we allow others to participate. By asking better questions, we may be led to more truthful answers.
Try it. Start with asking more questions, and it’ll lead you to ask better questions.