I remember sitting around a large table with a group of people. My wife and I were the invited guests, we were in a noisy restaurant, and after our meal, we were sitting and listening to a lot of people talk, tell stories, laugh, tell insider jokes and basically ignore us. We tried to engage in conversation and asked questions about what they were talking about. This went on for about an hour and we were ready to flee. The people were wonderful, the food was good, but no one cared to get to know us or even engage us in conversation.
Then, a woman who was sitting across the table from us began to ask us questions. Not the simple, generic questions, but she asked great questions and then listened to our answers, then asked more. She took an interest in us, in our lives, in our stories. She kept asking and was genuinely interested in us. We found areas that we connected, and we began to ask her questions. This went on for another hour, and we didn’t want to leave! We had found a friend, and someone who valued us. She was a great “asker”. We left that lunch with a promise of more connection and getting more time together.
Have you ever been in this kind of situation?
The challenge I want to give you is to be an “ASKER”. Be the person that asks questions of others, and then listens to the answers. Don’t be the person that only talks about yourself.
I know that as leaders, there are times when we have to talk about what we’re doing and where we’re going, but I want to encourage you to get in the habit of asking great questions of people you are engaging with .
Here’s what happens when you ask questions:
•People are drawn to you.
People don’t ask a lot of questions. This is a novelty. People are pulled to people who show an interest in them.
•You’ll learn some things
It’s amazing what you can learn if you ask and listen. Everyone has a story, an experience, a journey.
•You’ll then be asked questions
Often, not always, when you ask questions, it triggers others to ask questions of you.
•You build trust
When we get the opportunity to tell our story and listen to others stories, trust is built, a relationship is formed. It’s a good thing.
Be an ASKER.
Here’s some help for you:
Coaching: Learn to Ask Great Questions
Coaching Begins with Listening