Can You Please Tell Me More?

Excerpted from Chapter 4 of “Now That’s a Great Question.”

Click HERE to listen to Chapter 4 “Can You Please Tell Me More?”

Am I the only person who has ever had his wife say—after I have quickly responded to what I thought was her question—“There you go again Robert! You don’t even know what I am asking and you are already giving me an answer!”

OUCH!

Yes, more times than I care to admit, it can be said of me, “Bob answers before he listens.”

If this has ever happened to you, would you like a simple solution?

When you are asked a question, instead of instantly trying to answer, simply ask, “Can you please tell me more?”

Here is a great little story that illustrates the value of responding with, “Can you please tell me more?” when you are asked a question (even if you think you know the answer).

Johnnie (age 7) comes running into the house, yelling to his mom, “Where did I come from?” Johnnie’s mom had not been expecting this question–well, at least not yet! But after taking a deep breath and collecting her thoughts just a bit, she invites Johnnie into the living room where she shares all about “The Birds and the Bees.” Johnnie’s eyes are wide as saucers as he takes in every word.

When Johnnie’s mom is finished, she says, “Now Johnnie, do you understand where you came from?” Johnnie replies, “No! Joey said that he comes from California and he asked me where I come from!”

Do you think Johnnie’s mom had wished she had responded to Johnnie’s question with, “Can you please tell me more?”

Johnnie would have instantly blurted out, “Joey said that he comes from California and asked me where I come from?” And Johnnie’s mom then could have answered, “You come from Texas!” Johnnie would have immediately dashed back out the door to tell Joey, “I come from Texas!” And his mom could have saved her “Birds & Bees” story for another day!

So, do you now understand why your first question should always be, “Can you please tell me more?”

The real benefit of asking, “Can you please tell me more,” not only allows you to make sure you are responding to the real issue, it will also give you more time to thoughtfully respond:

  • Sometimes just with a listening ear (for when he/she is not actually asking for your input).
  • Sometimes with an answer.
  • Sometimes with a thoughtful question that will allow them to solve their own problem.

“Can you please tell me more?” has become my second most favorite question in almost every conversation I ever find myself in. There are also many different ways you can ask this question:

  • Please say more about that.
  • What else can you add?
  • Please keep talking.

Another option for getting them to say more is to ask what is called, “The Second Question.”

Example: You ask a friend, “What have you been up to?” Your friend shares that he/she just completed their MBA. Your second question might be to ask: What would you say are your 3 biggest takeaways from this whole experience? And then you might follow with, “How are you going to put those into practice?”

Example: You ask a new acquaintance, “Please tell me your story?” And in the midst of their story they include that they grew up as the son/daughter of a policeman, that they went to Auburn University, that they are now married and have identical twin daughters. Second questions you might ask include: “What was it like growing up with a policeman for your father?” and/or “How did you choose Auburn University?” and/or “Identical twins—wow—what are the blessings and challenges of twin daughters?”

Coaching: When I am in “Coaching” mode I make frequent use of, “Can you please tell me more?” The person I am coaching might think I am asking so that I will better understand the issue/ challenge/strategy/roadblock/next steps they are sharing with me. While this is absolutely true, what they might not understand is that as they tell me more about the issue/challenge/ strategy/ roadblock/next steps, their understanding also increases.

 

You have just listened and/or read “Chapter 4” from “Now That’s a Great Question.”  You can request your free download of the entire Audiobook and/or eBook by clicking HERE

Bob Tiede

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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