How to improve the quality of your questions
What makes a good question?
Now that is a good question. It’s nice when we hear this about the questions we ask because it often means that we have asked something either different, unusual or at least thought provoking. By asking a “good question” you create new and interesting ways of looking at problems and often start people looking at things from a different perspective. So the quality of questions you ask help determine the answers to a large degree.
Who asks questions?
Leaders ask questions. If you want to be seen as a leader then you need to be asking questions, not just any questions but quality questions.
As we get to know a little more about one another it helps to ask questions. It’s a little too soon for us to be offering advice (hey we’re just getting to know each other and build trust and a deeper connection) So let’s just learn more by asking questions.
Here are a couple of great questions to ask when you delve deeper.
- Can you remember exactly why you wanted to start your own business?
- Are you still as passionate about your business as when you 1st started it?
- Which part of your daily business activity gives you the most enjoyment/satisfaction?
- What is your most present problem?
- How are you going about solving it now?
- What happens if you don’t fix this problem?
- What are your short term and long term plans for your business?
- What are you most excited about?
- What are you struggling with the most?
- Who do you most admire (business person) and why?
- Who do you trust? experts, friends, colleagues, relatives, media
- Can you name someone who has really got your back and is inside your inner circle?
- What’s your biggest asset/attribute?
- What’s the one book you have read in the past year that has changed the way you think or act?
- Outside of business what activity would you love to do more of (if money was no object)
- It there 1 thing that you would like to change?
He (or she) who digs the deepest gets better answers.
- How is business going for you on a scale of one to ten, 1 being terrible and 10 being awesome?
- What do you feel prevents it from being a 10? (don’t say think, say feel).
- What are a few problems you have that are costing you the most money right now? Which of those is the most annoying?
- What is the most important activity in your business right now?
- Help give me some perspective on where you are at right now… what are the thoughts you have spinning around in your head these last few days or weeks? It could be related to absolutely anything…
Active or Passive Questions
There are 2 types of questions Active or Passive
An active question holds you more accountable and is more focused on what you can control vs external influences– e.g. “Did you do your best to set a goal this week” The emphasis is more on you and not the outcome.
A Passive question allows us more to wriggle out –e.g. “Did I achieve the goals I set last week” This can be more easily deflected with a reason for failure e.g. I was relying on my developer to finish the web page before I could market the blog post.
Can you use this skill in either your Masterminds or in your business in general?
“We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.” Carl Sagan
Sometimes we need to hold off asking questions.
Practice Listening not speaking.
Can we listen only, and resist asking a question or being quick to express an opinion or an immediate answer or solution?
Have you noticed how we are often in such a rush to answer people that we are barely listening to what they are really saying? We are already forming an answer in our head or a response WAY before the other person has even finished speaking – or is that just me? I don’t think it is. Sometimes we are just so excited we want to share it immediately – because we think we know the answer or the perfect solution.
We often can’t want to offer our opinion/suggestion/solution – way before they have even finished the sentence. As a result, we are barely listening and are instead using most of our brain capacity to form our response.
Next time you are in a café on your own – listen in on the flow of the conversation around you. Notice how many people interrupt the speaker long before they have ever finished what they were saying. Notice how choppy the conversation is and how they seem to have already formulated the answer even before the end of a sentence.
Just don’t get caught eavesdropping.
Ryan Walter – The Power of Asking the Right Questions