When I thought about it I realized it wasn’t specifically what was said that was so important but the questions being put forward that stimulated the flow of conversation. You see whether it’s in your personal life or professional life asking the right question can be the key to personal relationships with friends, family or your partner. This is also relevant when presenting, we see a lack of thought in the questions being asked to the audience.
However time and time again when the right questions are asked they inspire creativity, drive connection and engagement, and get better results.
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” –Naguib Mahfouz (Nobel Prize Winner)
So whats going wrong? What generally happens is people make statements rather than produce thought provoking questions. To the most part, statements trigger our brains’ logic which in my experience leads to a yes or no response or I agree or disagree this is your brain trying to reach a conclusion to soon.
Questions, on the other hand, trigger our brains’ imagination and creative thinking skills. They encourage you to think more deeply, which can lead to a whole new set of insights.
Next time when you are trying to stimulate a conversation think about the kind of questions you are asking and how they impact the conversation?
The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge ~ Thomas Berger
I would recommend using the Meta Model when asking questions, some of these might not feel natural at first but they are better at stimulating the mind. If we had more thought provoking questions at events we may also have more engagement. Try using questions that use 5 of the 6 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Which Specifically.
Below are some sample questions you might ask using the meta model:
How specifically are you under achieving?
What stops you from achieving your goals?
What has to happen for you to achieve a goal?
Compared to who, are you under achieving?
How does this mean you are not on the right path to achieving your goals?
Does this mean you will never achieve them?
Notice I don’t use the word “Why” in any of these questions? Because again people will generally look for a conclusion and when they can’t find it they will say because or I don’t know.Why haven’t you succeed? Its too direct. Chunk up with high level questions and then drill down.
Try it out and see how you too can change the flow of conversations, increase connection and drive engagement.