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How to Turn Idle Chatter into Questions that Matter – Principle 1


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Managing Self
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By Tom Davidson

The single most important tool for every manager is the skill and will to use powerful questions. To turn any idle chatter into questions that matter and information that counts, use these three principles to get stellar results. Make your questions short, open-ended and shut up!

The single most important tool for every manager is the skill and will to use powerful questions. To turn any idle chatter into questions that matter and information that counts, use these three principles to get stellar results. Make your questions short, open-ended and shut up!

SHORT Questions
1. Use three to five words at the most. Brief questions are attention-getting and immediately cause the listener to engage and think. Get someone to help you practice by counting your words and giving you specific feedback after conversations or meetings.

2. Ask only one question at a time. Multiple questions confuse the listener, put them in charge of the discussion, and give them too much wiggle room in which to avoid giving a thoughtful answer. Also, hold your follow-up questions until you’ve heard the answer!

3. Risk being abrupt. If you are concerned about being curt, that’s good, but being succinct is not the same thing as being rude. To mitigate that unintended consequence, maintain a curious mindset, positive demeanor and respectful tone, but don’t let the idea of brevity keep you from being brave.

Check out the next two blogs for the other two key principles for turning idle chatter into questions that matter.

What are your best tips for making questions count?


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