Asking the right questions is a key to good relationships in business and in life. What kind of questions are you asking?
My friend Steve is the question-asker I know. He always has more questions than answers, and as a result, people love talking to him, both on his award-winning radio show and in real life. Why? It’s because he asks great questions and listens to the answers. And since people being people love to talk about themselves, it’s a great strategy for building relationships, professional and personal.
I was listening to a call-in show today on a different radio station (sorry, Steve, but it was after your shift!) The question up for discussion was pretty unremarkable: What would you order for your last meal?
Typical responses consisted of rich and delicious foods, sans the consequences of negative health benefits, because, you know, it’s your last meal and all.
But one caller surprised me with her comment. She said loved listening to the conversation because this is the question her husband always asks the waiter when they dine at a restaurant. “What would you order for your last meal?”
Suddenly because of the circumstance, it becomes an extraordinary question. You not only get the waiter to recommend the absolute best thing on the menu, but you begin to build a relationship. As a result, you get better attention, better service, and if you take the waiter’s advice when you order, you get to enjoy the best dish that establishment has to offer.
What kind of questions are you asking? Regular questions or extraordinary questions? Are you listening to the answers and building relationships in the process?
Next time you go out to dinner, give this particular question a try. Next time you’re at a party, try asking more questions than you answer. And next time you ask a question, listen to the answer and then follow up with another question.
Do you have an extraordinary question? If so, please share it in the comments below. We’ll be sure to listen!