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The One Conversational Tool That Will Make You Better At Absolutely Everything

| May 28, 2013

by Jim Bruce

Today’s Reading is “The One Conversational Tool That Will Make You Better At Absolutely Everything” <> from the pen of Shane Snow, a New York City-based technology writer and co-founder of  The article first appeared in Fast Company.

“Most people are terrible at asking questions.”  We talk too much.  We accept bad answers.  We are too embarrassed to be direct.  We’re afraid to admit we don’t know.  We throw soft balls, etc.  Snow makes eight suggestions that you can use to step up your questions:

1.  Don’t ramble on.  Stop at the question mark.  You have the question;  why are you still talking?

2.  Be comfortable with silence.  Let your responder think.  If you start talking you won’t learn what they think.

3.  Start questions with “who, what, when, where, how, or why” for more thoughtful responses.

4.  Don’t fish for the response you want.  Leading questions are bad questions.  If you know the answer, why ask?

5.  Stop pretending to understand when you don’t.  Ask a follow-up question instead.

6.  Received a non-answer?  Try again from a different angle.

7.  Rephrase the answer in your own words.  Sometimes you’ll be rewarded with further insight.

8.  Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions.  The worst question is the unasked one.

As you go through your week, work on using these suggestions to step up your questions, thereby providing you with more useful information.  By intentionally practicing these ideas, you’ll make them a regular part of your toolkit.


Have a great week.  .  .  .    jim