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 wise listening. 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: 173 seconds

You can ask the most powerful question on the planet, but if you don’t really get the answer. What’s the point? Listening is essential to building trusting relationships with the important people in our lives. Deep listening requires both attention and intention. It also deals with our interpretation of what was said. Want to understand what is really happening in your world? Practice these two listening skills so that people feel seen, heard, and even “gotten.”

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

Asking Powerful Questions Pyramid™ by We!

Ask Powerful Questions by Will Wise has an entire chapter on tools and techniques that help us become better listeners. Here are two simple ways we can listen more impactfully.

Tip #1: Notice what you are “listening for.”

Begin by making a list of all the things you might be listening for. What are you listening for…

  • When your boss calls you in your office?
  • When you pick up your ringing phone and notice it is somebody who you owe something to?
  • When you are in a conversation with someone who believes in something that you don’t?

Can you see that in each of these conversations you might find yourself listening to only the “listening for…” that you started the conversation with? It might be…

  • “What did I do wrong?” or “Are you going to fire me?”
  • “I’m I being admired?” or “Do I have time for this?”
  • “Will I be accepted if I share?” or “What do they need from me?”

In each case we are only getting a narrow band of what is actually being said. If your mom is telling you that you are wrong (“Here she goes again!”) and you won’t be able to hear at the same time that your mom is telling you that she loves you, that she is concern about you, that she wants the best for you.

One simple way to increase what you are able to listen for is notice (“I’m listening for what I did wrong”) and to ask, “What else can I be listening for?

Tip #2: Reflect what you are hearing in one of these FOUR ways.

  1. Verbatim: This is the simplest form. You can reflect exactly what the other person is saying, using many of the same words as they did. This is especially useful for clarification, if a particular word surprised you, or if there is a lot of emotion in what they are saying.
  2. Translation: You can reflect what you are hearing the other person say using your own words. Simple Translation uses synonyms for their words. Far Out Translation uses words with different meanings.
  3. Unstated Feelings: You can reflect your sense of the other person’s feelings, even if they are not being said directly.
  4. Connecting the Dots: You can connect the different ideas that the other person is sharing throughout the conversation.

People can really tell that we care when we reflective listen. The point is never to “be right,” but to let the other person know that they are seen and heard. The result is that they feel comfortable expressing themselves.

Will invites you to try these techniques in your next conversation, and see how they benefit both parties.

For more tips, watch the “behind the scenes” video for Chapter 4 of Ask Powerful Questions.

If you missed Will Wise’s & Chad Littlefield’s posts from earlier this week you can read Monday’s Post “Build Trust by First Focusing on Intention”  by clicking “HERE.” Tuesday’s Post “How to Build Trust and Productivity at Work” by clicking “HERE.”  Wednesday’s  Post:  “Stop Asking ‘Why?’ Questions” 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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