Quality of life? Ask the right question
Tuesday, June 17, 2008/
Quality of your life can equal the quality of your questions. MARCIA GRIFFIN
By Marcia Griffin
The quality of your life equals the quality of your questions.
When I first heard this expression, I didn’t connect with it at all. I had thought the quality of one’s life was determined by many other more important things.
But over the years this expression has come back to me many times, and I have noticed that when I have really asked the right questions in almost any given situation there has been a very big payoff.
Socially, the easiest thing one can do to start a conversation is to ask questions, ones that show a level of interest but not intrusion. On a business level, it’s amazing how asking questions can give you a lot of answers that otherwise are not obvious.
In all my business roles – investor, director, mentor – asking questions is vital. Over the last week I have had good cause to reflect on the above:
- Why, why and why again.
- What if you were to…?
- What if you did not…?
- What else could you do?
- What are your competitors doing?
- What are your competitors not doing?
- Is there a real and provable business case for doing this?
- And so it goes on.
All these questions can be equally applied to our own lives and help us sort out the direction we really want to go as opposed to the one that others might want us to take.
Of course it’s not just the quality of the questions we ask but also the manner in which we ask – if the tone is judgemental rather than inquisitive there will naturally be resistance.
I guess I really learned the value of good questioning through my career in sales – the more questions one asks of a potential client, the more one can find the reasons why your product might be a benefit (or on the other hand, good questions could lead you to the conclusion that your product may have no benefit, so move on and find the next client and save time for everyone).
Good sales training actually is about good training in communication – it’s about two ears and one mouth; speak less and listen more.
The other thing I have learned about questions has been my longest, hardest lesson – don’t be afraid to ask. You will find that what you want to ask is often what others were also wanting to ask but were afraid to do so.
Finally, the true value of successful questioning is the learning that comes from the questions – hence the two ears!
To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.
High Heeled Success is Marcia Griffin’s latest book, and is a frank account of building a business from a solitary sales person to a multi-million dollar business with 4700 sales consultants around Australia and New Zealand. It recounts successes and failures along the way and was written to inspire entrepreneurs-particularly women to triumph in business.