Without question you have!

How about your staff?  Your clients/customers?  Your peers?  Your supervisor?

You can bet they also have!

Please read on:

I have no expertise to know or explain what exactly happens physiologically to your brain when you are asked a question.  If you have that expertise, would you please share with me (in fact all of us)?

What I do know is that the instant someone says, “I have a question for you” 100% of your attention/brain power goes to:

  • Listening/focusing on the question being asked–Do you understand the question?  Do you need to ask a clarifying question to make sure I understand the question?
  • Your brain is also processing another question:  Should you share an answer or would it be more appropriate to respond with a question to their question?
  • Your brain is sorting through all the data stored in your brain to find the pertinent file(s) where potential answers are stored.
  • Your brain then quickly rummages through that file(s) for potential answers
  • Your brain is simultaneously analyzing the person who asked you the question–Is this a “safe” person?  What are their motives? Do you need to be careful?  What do they already know?  What would be most helpful to them?  Where might this be leading?
  • Your brain starts to formulate the answer that will soon come out of your mouth.  What will you say first, second, third?  What kind of contextual information might you want to include?  Should you share a story?  A past experience?  A resource?
  • And now as you begin to speak your brain is simultaneously reading the face of the person who asked the question–do they look like they are understanding? or confused?  or lost?  or pleased?  or angry?  Your brain will adjust/edit/delete/add to your verbal answer accordingly.
  • When you have verbalized your last word–your brain will continue to stay focused on the person who asked the question.   What do they say next?   Was your answer helpful to them?  Are they going to ask you a clarifying question?  Are they going to ask you to share more?

How long does all the above take?  Sometimes only seconds!  Hardly ever more than a couple of minutes.

During these seconds to minutes where has your brain focused 100% of its computing power?   During these seconds to minutes has your brain spent anytime thinking about last week?  What your friend said to you this morning?  What is on your “To Do” list?

So what’s my point?  If you want to own/use 100% of the brainpower present with you in the room what do you have to do?
You are 100% correct–You have to ask them questions!
So what do you think of today’s blog?

Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.


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2 thoughts on “What is going on in your brain when someone says, “I have a question for you” ?

  1. Clayton says:

    I couldn’t agree more. You have to receive the message with 100% brain power and answer with 100% heart power. The second part about asking the perfect question is responding with a perfect answer. With that in mind, I try to answer questions people ask me with The Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Some questions are difficult to answer – start by telling your friend that you care about them and have their best interest in mind before you answer (even though they might not like your answer).

    Then there is the part they have to do themselves – the execution of their question, your thought, and your collective solution to the question/problem. The question and answer can be a collabloration of ideas and answers, but in order for your friend to come to a resoloution, they must cross the finish line. You can encourage them to do/be better in a certain idea or area of thier life, but the must carry through with the action that you have both settled upon through your answer.

    These types of questions are powerful questions and are the ones that make people into better people, businesses in to better businesses, etc. There are not simple quetions. They require a lot of thoguht, care, and delivery to be successful.

  2. Dondi Markham says:


    This is SO TRUE! I know my whole attitude toward what someone is saying completely changes the moment I hear the words, “I have a question for you.” Those words have power!

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