Need to increase sales? Want to really Pay Attention? Ask more questions

March 4, 2014

Chief Execution OfficerI admire so many of the Greeks.

Socrates was crazy smart.

He was a master of asking questions.

The Socratic method of asking disciplined questions causes you to think in a variety of ways.  These questions often allow the conversation to get in more depth, uncover issues and often lead to more questions.

This technique is disciplined, systematic and deep.

Applying a variety of questions he often used will accelerate your critical thinking skills, deepen your conversations and improve your leadership ability.

If you want conversations to be more productive, if you want to increase sales, if you want to be better at really paying attention, choose some of these questions today.

Clarification questions ask the speaker to provide more than a surface response.

  • Why do you think that?
  • What exactly does that mean?
  • Can you give me an example of that?

Probing assumptions ask the speaker to recognize the assumptions on which an argument is based.

  • How did you choose those assumptions?
  • What else could we assume?
  • What would happen if we … ?

Probing evidence and reasons, rather than questioning assumptions, these questions request more evidence.

  • How do you know this?
  • What do you think causes…?

Questioning viewpoints, most arguments are made from a position. These questions are useful to discover other viewpoints.

  • Why is this better than… ?
  • What is the difference between … and… ?
  • May I play devils advocate and ask … ?

Probe consequence, these questions help people realize the impact of their decisions on the business.

  • How will this affect …  ?
  • What are the implications of  …  ?
  • What are the consequences of this decision?

Question the question, this may be frustrating for some, especially if they want the answer, however, instead of telling someone, question the question.

  • Why do you think I asked?
  • What is the point of asking these questions?

To avoid conversations becoming heated, ensure your question focuses on the issue, not the person who makes the statement.

 

I loved these six questioning techniques and if you want to be a more productive conversationalist, increase your sales, and increase your strategic thinking skills: be more like Socrates and ask more questions.

Attention Pays Tip: Choose one type of questioning technique and try it out in your next team meeting (let us know the results on our blog by writing your comments below)

How can you apply to with your team in your organization?

Share your ideas with us here on our blog. 

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