“We thought we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” Bono, Musician and Philanthropist
Do your staff/peers/leaders ever make statements that you suspect may not actually be true? World War II General George S. Patton was known for his quip:
“How do you know that?”
This is a profoundly simple and effective method for sorting out opinion from fact.
Chariots of Fire was the winner of the 1981 Oscar for Best Picture. In the movie, Erik Liddell says, “I believe that God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run I feel his pleasure.” With this as context here is one of my most favorite questions:
“What are you doing when you feel God’s pleasure?”
What are five simple questions you can ask your staff regarding how you could become a more effective leader? Simply ask:
“What do I need to start doing?”
“What do I need to stop doing?”
“What do I need to do more of?”
“What do I need to do less of?”
“What do I need to continue to do?”
Jesus, the master communicator, went about sharing stories and asking questions. The four Gospels record 173 questions that Jesus asked. You can read all 173 questions by clicking “HERE”
Might we do well to follow his example? Why do you suppose Jesus asked so many questions? I ask a lot of questions because I don’t know the answers, but that certainly was not true for Jesus! Might it be that he understood that asking was a much better way to engage your audience than telling?
Do you remember how the story of the Good Samaritan ends? Jesus could have said: “So therefore the Samaritan was his neighbor.” But instead he asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
Two of my favorite questions that Jesus asked are found in Mark, chapter 8. Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them,
“Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist;
others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
I have the same two questions for you:
“Who do people today say that Jesus is?”
“But what about you? Who do you say Jesus is?”
If you are not sure or would like to know more about who Jesus is, I would be delighted to send you one of my favorite books, “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh McDowell, my former colleague of 24 years. Please email me at email@example.com with your mailing address and your book will soon be on its way – with my compliments (offer available U.S. only).
In their book, “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go,” my friends, Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni, suggest that closure is overrated. Don’t feel the pressure to wrap up every conversation with a bow. Try this instead:
End your next meeting or conversation with a question.
Explain that there’s no time for a discussion, but that you have one more question that you want to close with. Then, the next time you are with that person, ask if they remember the question. You’ll be surprised that they not only remember the question, but they’ll also have quite a few answers for you.
If you are in involved in fundraising, would you like meetings with potential donors to be more conversational and less presentational?
Here are six questions from my friend Kent Stroman, author of “Asking about Asking: Mastering the Art of Conversational Fundraising:”
“How did you learn to give?”
“What would you like your gifts to accomplish?”
“How do you decide which projects to support with your own time and money?”
“What are your top three charitable interests this year?”
“What gift did you make that has brought you the most joy?”
“Could you ever see yourself becominginvolved with our mission?”
Helping you win is my only goal!
There are no hidden motives!
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