Stop and Think Questions

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Guest Post by Vern Schellenger

Need help solving a tough challenge on the job?  Looking to advance your career?  Want to add value to your organization?  One of the quickest paths to success is to use the skills of networking to build trust-based relationships.  The higher the degree of trust between two people, the greater likelihood they will help each other in any way they can.

Trust develops by consistently demonstrating your character and competence and learning about the other person’s character and competence.  One of the keys skills you need to engage others is the ability to ask STOP and THINK questions.  Questions help you uncover a need, a commonality, or a difference you want to explore.

We can always see the top of the iceberg – the 10% above the water line.  Often in conversation it’s easy to ask questions about the 10% that everybody sees.  For example, what sort of job you do, the college you went to, where you live, etc.  But how can you get to the 90% that’s underwater?  What if you want to connect with people about their attitudes, values, points of view, opinions, and emotions……….  You need to ask STOP and THINK questions.

I could ask John what college he went to and the instant reply, without any thinking whatsoever, is Yale.  A STOP and THINK question would be “John, what do you think are the pros and cons of my daughter going to Yale?”

So the next time you are having a conversation …….ASK

Add emotion – If you had to tell a close friend how you feel about networking what three words would you use?

Seek an opinion – How are the issues you are facing now different from the past?

Kick it around – If there were three things we could do to increase the quality of your work life, what would they be?

And remember; when you ask these questions be sure to LISTEN GENEROUSLY.  Listen for

  • Evidence of the person’s character and competence
  • The person’s skills, talents, and expertise
  • What can you give?  What you give should be based on the stage of trust you have with them.

Note from Bob:  What builds trust faster:  “Asking someone to tell you more” or “Telling someone what you think”?  It’s counter-intuitive isn’t it?

VernSchellenger Head shot RVern Schellenger is a principal consultant with Contacts Count (www.contactscount.com), a global consulting firm that provides training to help individuals become more effective in building and utilizing their networks.  The recently published, Strategic Connections – The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World, provides the most current research and information on how individuals can achieve their goals at work, in their career, and contribute more value to their organization.  Contact him at vern@contactscount.com

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