by John F. Graham
Socrates taught us that questions are the most powerful form of communication. It is not only a great way to teach, but a great way to communicate in many situations.
A teacher will ask lots of questions and get the students responding and sharing ideas gently leading the group to the logical conclusions. Today veteran sales representatives, attorneys and professors frequently use questions to explore and guide the listeners in a desired direction.
Many have heard of the Socratic Method of using questions to control an outcome, but few of us really remember to use it on purpose. I challenge you to make one simple change in you communication. Simply use the questioning method to get yourself unstuck.
Carry on communicating as you always do. Just remember when you are in a tough spot and find yourself unsure of what to say next – ask a question. We all find ourselves at a loss for words from time to time. Ask a question.
When I meet someone new, I most always ask, “Where are you from?” This tends to open doors to all kinds of conversational options. I find this easy. But what if your boss says, I am really unhappy with the way this turned out? Our mind naturally wants to find excuses to save our hide. But what if you asked a question instead – For example: “How could I have reached a better conclusion?” Sure your boss could still scold you, but better to appear eager to learn and advance than to make excuses.
Gently stated and well placed questions will give you more control and wisdom.
John F. Graham is Co-Founder of Accelerated Professionals. Accelerated Professionals is a course for young professionals that bridges the gap between business operations and the board room. If you’re looking to increase your prospects of moving from support staff to management, our short 6 week course will give you the boost you need to present yourself confidently and get the executive staff to lean in when you speak.