Workplace: Questions

Questions matter to our well-being, our problem-solving, and our daily lives. Questions asked uncover information. Unasked questions leave us searching for information.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley (2020) got me thinking again about the questions we ask ourselves, and others. While reading, I highlighted pages with interesting questions; went back and typed them all up (7 pages worth); and now, I’ll journal my responses. Should be fun to see what new insights result. The overarching question: What is your most authentic self?

While hosting the Momentum radio program for four years, I had the privilege of asking questions of business owners, authors, inventors, historians, and artists. Joy is the best word to describe the conversations that resulted. One of the Momentum show guests was John G. Miller, the author of QBQ!, the Question Behind the Question. The premise is that any question we are asked may really have another question behind it and that our job is to get to that question behind the original question. Makes you pause doesn’t it?

A decade ago, when a colleague owned a day-spa, she asked me to build a “service-provider questions and conversation workshop”. Consider the questions you’ve been asked while getting your hair cut, or a massage, or your nails done. Friendly is fine; invasive or judgmental is not. Service providers who spend twenty minutes or more with clients and customers need a list of go-to questions that are friendly, not offensive or invasive. For instance: “What good movies have you seen lately?” “Have you read any good books lately? Tell me about it.”  “What staycations have you enjoyed this summer?” Or silence. Silence is okay too.

Question asking tips:

  • Who…can help us?
  • What…do we define as the problem?
  • Where…in our process are things breaking down?
  • When…do we have to deliver the final product?
  • How…can we improve our processes?

Notice that WHY is not on the list. The reason is that any question starting with “why” tends to create anxiety and an aversion to answering. Avoid using “why” to start your questions.

What questions can you ask this week? Whom will you ask?

What questions are you ready to answer?

Note from Jana: Your meetings – online and in person – are your most important tool for achieving team successes. If you’re ready to take strategic steps toward managing meetings and results as effectively as possible, we’d love to talk with you about partnering.

Workplace – the Blog: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work.

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