Did you ever think that you cheated yourself out of great conversations or important information because you focused on the wrong things? Bet you have - bet you realized it later while replaying the conversation in your head. "Why did I say that?" or "why didn't I ask about that?" That's when you realize that you cheated yourself by not asking powerful questions.
If you're like most people, giving answers and making statements is part of how you interact with others. It's probably what you think about most when getting ready for a meeting or social event. Specifically, what you're going to say to the people you'll see. Sometimes you do it because you want to seem interesting to other people. Other times it’s because you want them to think you’re smart or good at what you do.
If you want better outcomes or make stronger connections, try focusing on asking powerful questions.
What's a powerful question? It seems a little intimidating, doesn't it. Well, think of some of the more common and very powerful questions that can change lives:
- What do I want to do with the rest of my life?
- Will you marry me?
- Do you want this job?
- Should I move?
They aren't very intelligently worded, just common questions. However, the answers to these are crucial but wouldn’t even come up if there was a questioned asked first. That's what makes them powerful.
Questioning Crusader Dorothy Leeds says that “if you increase and improve your questions by just 10%, you increase and improve your productivity by over 20%.” She also says that instead of thinking about what you should say, she encourages you to think, “what should I ask” and then listen for the inside answer….and use it. One of Dorothy's favorite questions, and a perfect Victorious Woman question, is “What would an extraordinary person do in this situation?”
Here are some other examples of powerful questions that you could practice asking today:
- What will happen to me if I stay in this job?
- What will happen to me if I stay in the relationship?
- What will happen to me if I don't change this behavior?
- What can I say to change his/her mind?
- What do you mean by that?
- I don’t think I understand what you mean. Can you clarify what you just said?
- How did you come to that conclusion?
- Can you give me a specific example?
- What sources did you use to develop that topic?
- What ideas influenced your choices/your opinons?
- Did I answer your question?
- Outline for me the steps I need to take.
Write these questions down and keep them with you. Practice asking two of these questions every day for 30 days. Notice and keep track of what happens personally and professionally!