People Skills Killer: Questions That Don’t Ask
by Kate Nasser |
Leadership, teamwork, sales, and customer relations hinge on great people skills and communication. Most business owners and corporate leaders agree that it is the great questions that develop rapport, build understanding, and unearth solutions and ideas. True — except questions that don’t ask.
Statements that masquerade as questions — that don’t ask but rather tell — are a true people skills killer.
Replace Questions That Tell with Those That Ask
- Don’t you think … ? At best this question sounds like you don’t want to hear opinions and at worst comes across as passive aggressive or accusatory. This is a people skills killer.
The simple change to what do you think increases rapport and understanding.
- Why don’t you …? Generally what follows is a statement of what you want the other person to do. It also puts the other person on the defensive. This is a people skills killer.
People will respect you more when you state your ideas as a suggestion. “Here’s one idea … what do you think?”
- Wouldn’t it be better …? This question is actually a statement “I think it would be better …” posed as a question. Although not as damaging as don’t you think, it still risks insulting the other person. A people skills killer.
Better to state your opinion and ask for opinions or combine the two with What if …? The latter doesn’t insult and invites other ideas.
- Could you help me? Although it sounds harmless, it shrinks away from the true question “Will you help me? Show others you honor their choices by affording a true option to say yes/no.
Statements that masquerade as questions are people skills killers. They confuse, accuse, manipulate, and sometimes insult.
True questions honor others — even in disagreement. They communicate respect, openness, and a commitment to collaboration. Leadership, teamwork, sales, and customer relations gather momentum and dimension with true questions.
I think it’s well worth it. What do you think?
From professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, customer service, customer experience, and teamwork. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.