Ask the Right Question

Did your family do what mine did when it came to communication? When my mother wanted to know something about my sister, she’d go to my brother. When she wanted to know something about me, she’d go to my sister. It went on and on like this for years. I don’t think our family was unique because I see this evasive communication style in business too.

Evasive Communication is tucked into these examples:

1. Phil believes that an associate is interfering with his project to gain headway with the CEO. What should he do? What strategy will insure his ultimate success?

2. Tiffany’s new marriage is being threatened because she is convinced her in-laws are judgmental and critical of her words and actions.

3. Matthew blew his presentation. He is positive of it, and will shy away from the spotlight in the future to avoid such humiliation.

No one is sabotaging these three individuals except themselves. All they have to do is change their focus, get curious, and ask some questions. Sound simple?

1. Change their focus. All three have their eye and thoughts on the ill fated results of loss or embarrassment. You create whatever the subject of your thought is. Each is unwittingly creating failure. However, if Phil changes his focus to amazing his CEO with diligence and creativity, what results will he then produce? Be aware of competition, but don’t let it adversely affect you.

2. Get curious. Tiffany notices her in-laws watching her closely. Are they really judging her? Is it possible they really want to watch her behavior because they want to know her better? Is this more about Tiffany’s lack of confidence? Perhaps they’ve never seen a tennis match played or table set the way she does and they are enamored! What will this curiosity open up to her?

3. Ask the question: Truly, the only way to know something for certain is to ask. Why do we shy away from going to the source? Chances are high that if Matthew asks for feedback on his presentation, he’ll learn how to fine tune it; becoming more direct will help Tiffany and Phil gain valuable information.

A method of listening in the coaching world is called ‘level three listening.’ This is listening with all of your senses—your eyes, ears, intuition, gut. Listen to what is really being said and what is not. This intense listening leads to intriguing questions which will result in greater understanding. If you try to understand others first, you will then be understood. Dare to ask the questions you’ve held back on.

Go directly to the source. This is never actually as difficult as it may initially seem. Additionally, asking the question saves time and energy; makes things much clearer and in the long run saves relationships. Even the most intuitive of us never knows where the other is coming from without an open discussion. Even then, watch for signs. Make this week one of wonderful enjoyment via what you discover about yourself!