Ask Great Questions: A Potent Ingredient of Genuine Other-Centeredness

Today’s post by my friend and fellow leader, Jason Grant, is an excellent feature on the importance of asking great questions. Enjoy!

Shut your yapper.  Zip the lip.  Park it will ya!  Blah, blah, blah, blah…blah.  “I did…I was…I am…”  ME this and ME that.  ME BABY!!

Reality check.  Guess what?  No one really cares…at least not that much.

It baffles me how many people still have not learned the valuable lesson of “being quick to listen and slow to speak.”  The irony is that if mastered, you will actually find yourself immensely MORE interesting to other people.

The Most Fascinating Man You’ve Ever Met

Take the story told by sales coach Michael Pink about a young man who approaches relationship-building by living out a creative, outside-the-box experiment.

In his story, the young man decides to go to a party and not mention a single thing about himself.  The whole night is designed to do nothing, absolutely nothing, but ask questions of others and see what happens.  He walks in, immediately meets two ladies, and begins his test.  Hours pass.  He doesn’t speak to anyone else in the party and says nothing of himself.

While leaving the party, the young women chat about their evening.  When conversation turns toward their new male friend, they mutually agree on their opinion of the man, sayingthat man was the most fascinating man they have ever met in their lives.

Can you believe that?  The MOST fascinating?  They didn’t even know a lick about the guy!

How can that be?  Because we love talking about ourselves.  But leaders think others first.  Always.  Should we never speak about ourselves?  Of course not!  So what is the lesson?

Focus On Others First

Be intentionally considerate of others… first. Show respect to others…first.  Let them run the conversation….the talking I mean!  But make sure you are being sincere.  Work on your listening skills.  Repeat what they say back to you, and keep asking great questions.  This will serve you not only in leadership and sales, but in life.

The great book of Philippians says that we should do nothing of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves.  I believe that includes spending inordinate amounts of time getting to know others first before seeking to have others get to know us first.  Work hard to be the one who asks more questions!

Do this, and watch how interesting you become to others.

Here are some suggested openers:

  1. Tell me about your passions?  What excites you in life?
  2. Who are your heroes?
  3. What are you thinking about about these days?
  4. Tell me about Jane…who’s Jane!?  Say it with a smile.

Jason Grant is a thirtysomething who works in sales and consulting.  He strives to ask great questions of people and has a passion for sincerely building folks up with genuine encouragement.  He enjoys the practical application of leadership.  Jason is married to his Peruvian sweetheart and has two young daughters.  In his spare time, he enjoys running, tennis, writing, and asking his 5-year-old what she wants to “talk about” each night before the final tuck-in.

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  • JT Robinson says:

    You are the real deal Jason! Great post! You definitely lead by example.

  • Jason Grant says:

    Great point Guilianna…it does take significant “time” in putting others first by asking questions….but it is immensely satisfying. Listening is crucial. Thank you.

  • Guilianna Isabel Cabanillas Zurita says:

    El gran libro de Filipenses, dice que no debemos hacer nada por egoísmo o vanidad, sino con humildad consideren a los demás como superiores a nosotros mismos. Creo que incluye los gastos enormes cantidades de tiempo a conocer a los demás antes de buscar que los demás nos conozcan en primer lugar. Trabajar duro para ser el que más preguntas!.
    Muy interesante aplicar lo que dice el libro de filipenses, los que trabajan en ventas realmente entienden que es necesario escuchar las nesecidades de las peronas.Yapicado a nuestra vida personal cuando se tabaja para un objetivo pues hay que realizarlo con mucha humildad.