It’s all about the questions.
That is – if you want to have a real and meaningful dialogue…with anyone…you need to ask the right questions.
Think about it – think about any situation you were in that was awkward…where conversation lagged…the discussion protagonists were looking in every which direction – except at each other – never making eye contact. Remember that situation? We all do!
Now think about the easy ones.
Conversation flowed like water in a stream. Alive, textured, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, moving around barriers, sometimes overflowing, occasionally taking detours, sparkling, transparent. Remember this one? I hope so!
Here is my bet – questions played a key role in the shaping of your experience. Good questions, insightful questions, questions that showed you cared, questions that made clear your true interest, questions that had no agenda and were open ended, questions that led to more questions and those to more – meaning that great conversation is fueled by great questions.
No questions, poor preparation or lack of understanding, indifference, personal agenda, closed loops – you get the picture – led to…you guessed it!
Again – as I truly believe – the line between our personal and professional behaviors is slim to none. Meaning that how I behave in one is most often mirrored in the other. Ergo – if I’m having trouble at dinner parties or in social situations, I bet my client conversations are no better – and vice-versa.
Yet, just as conversations are organic, so too are questions.
We can use “data” and analytics and all kinds of testing and such to help frame queries, but at the end of the day, it’s the human understanding and touch that make the difference.
Think about Coke and New Coke – look up the case – worth a re-read. Sure everyone “knew” that in the blind taste test the sweeter mix always wins, but that is Brand Blind. The key question – do you care – was never asked, that is until the debacle made it clear they did.
“Whom are you?” he asked, for he had attended business college.
– George Ade
And there you have it. Questions are organic and, by the way, so is listening…see my point – for next week….