Being entertained while watching your favorite TV show is a treat. But boy it’s painful to sit through a half hour meeting while someone speaks at you or “presents their pitch” while never stopping to ask you a single question. The reality is the only monologue most of us want to see is on a late night talk show. But in business, far too many people speed through their slides, rarely ever stopping to ask questions. This is a great way to engage your clients and partners and uncover important information. When I coach clients on how to have more powerful and productive meetings, we spend the most time on how to ask questions to build trust and rapport and uncover insights you need to position yourself for success. To do this, you need to eliminate yes/no questions from your vocabulary. And that’s why in this week’s Fearless in 5, we share the five questions to toss with the trash.
#1—"Make sense?” This is a really popular one, but by asking this it either means you are incoherent or you are insulting the other person. Are they not smart enough to follow what you said?
#2—"Any questions?” Or it’s sister question: “Any other questions?” People ask this and say “Well I asked people questions, but no one had any.”
#3—"Is this helpful?” Unless you are training someone, lose this. You’re either fishing for a compliment or setting yourself up to be insulted.
#4—"Can I?” “Could we?” Stop asking permission.
#5—My new least favorite…”Right?” This is called a tag question and it accomplishes nothing.
Remember that you are not the cool cop on a crime series interrogating suspects. Instead, think of yourself as your favorite late night host and banter with your guests.