Note from Bob: Recently I came across a book called Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations that Matter by Will Wise. There are over 80 “Leading With Questions” type books on my shelf, yet none of them are like Will’s book. Will’s book focuses not just on what questions to ask, but on how you build genuine relationships of trust by asking powerful questions. It’s no wonder it recently became a #1 Bestseller on Amazon! This week, with Will’s help we are doing something that we have never done before on this blog. There will be guest posts by Will every day this week sharing highlights from 5 chapters of the book and the Asking Powerful Questions Pyramid™. In today’s Post – Will shares about how to build trust and clear communication through the power of openness and a unique take on open-ended questions. I am guessing that by the end of the week – probably even before you finish watching Will’s short video clip (about 2 minutes) and reading the excerpt below – you will be clicking on the link below to purchase Will’s terrific new book!

Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations that Matter by Will Wise

Video length: 132 seconds

What is one of the most uncomfortable, difficult conversations you’ve ever had?

Will Wise has facilitated workshops on controversial topics for over twenty years. In Chapter 3 of his book, Ask Powerful Questions, Will talks about the importance of open-ended questions, and a mindset of openness in these situations.

Asking Powerful Questions Pyramid™ by Will Wise and We and Me, Inc.

Asking Powerful Questions Pyramid™ by We!

More often than not, difficult topics invite defensive communication or debate into a conversation. For this reason, it is important to review the aspects of another’s perspective.

There are two parts to openness:

  1. Find that place within yourself where you are actually choosing to be receptive to whatever they may say (good, bad, or ugly)
  2. Discover the mechanics behind asking a question that creates more openness.

The first part is often the most difficult because it is up to you to transform yourself out of a “need to be right” mindset. Setting aside your judgement is tough when hearing ideas that you do not agree with. Do you have people in your life that can say, “I can be open-minded as long as they think like me.”? Listening to those who think differently than you and being open to their truth is a skill that requires practice. What would happen if we saw each other as experts: experts of our own experience?

The second piece can be done relatively simply. Will suggests to stop asking questions that begin with “why.” Instead, from a mindset of openness, replace the why with with “HOW” or “WHAT” and rephrase.

“Why” questions are often rooted in judgement and create defensiveness in the other person. They hit the red panic button in the receiver that makes them ask themselves, “What did I do wrong?” or “How can I prove that I’m worthy?” Suddenly more fear is in the conversation than you intend. The other button is the green “I’m valued button.” “HOW” and “WHAT” questions allow for a more complete story of what is really happening without all the fear, judgement and defense.

Will’s invitation: Ask questions rooted in your natural, genuine curiosity that start with “HOW” or “WHAT” and see what happens for you. Let experience be the teacher.

To learn more about open-ended questions and openness, watch the “behind the scenes” video on Chapter 3.

If you missed Monday’s Post “Build Trust by First Focusing on Intention” you can read it by clicking “HERE.”  And if you missed Yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) Post “How to Build Trust and Productivity at Work” you can read it by clicking “HERE.”

You can purchase your copy of the #1 Amazon Best Selling book, Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations that Matter and practical tools like We! Connect Cards™ by clicking the toolkit below.

We and Me Connection Toolkit

Chad Littlefield, M.Ed. is a speaker and professional facilitator. Leaders and conference organizers call Chad when they want to make their events more interactive and engaging. He has spoken at TEDx and is the creator of We! Connect Cards™, which are now being used to create conversations that matter on campuses and companies in over 50 countries around the world. Feel free to connect with Chad through his interactive learning letter right here.

WiLL WiSE, M.Ed., has over two decades of experience custom building leadership programs for corporate and nonprofit groups. Leaders call Will when there is a lack of trust getting in the way of results. Tens of thousands of people have been empowered with positive communication skills after spending some time with WiLL and We!™ Most recently, WiLL has been passionate about sharing his #1 Amazon Bestselling Book, Asking Powerful Questions: Create Conversations that Matter.

Chad Littlefield and Will Wise from We and Me


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