It is vital in any business, whether in a face-to-face meeting or over the phone, that we learn more about our prospects and customers. How can we truly be of value to them, serve them, if we only work with our preconceived notions or assumptions of what they need or want?
In order to learn more, we have to deeply engage in – and inspire – conversation. Questions have to arise out of the conversation; they cannot be scripted. We must actively listen, then respond to what we hear, then ask for more detail, more information.
How do we do this? A master class in the art of conversation is available to us by listening to journalists’ interviews, whether on radio or television. Certainly some journalists rely on pre-determined questions and lean on a written script (and this is audibly obvious), but the best of the profession listen, respond and ask for more.
Below is a link to an interview done by CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti of The Current. In addition to the compassionate and attentive tone of her voice, the success of this interview comes from the fact that each question is open-ended and based on what has just been said.
Think about the conversations you need to have and the power of these phrases used by Anna Maria during the interview:
“Tell me about…”
“What have you been told about…”
“What goes through your mind when…”
“How many times have you…”
“How did you react when…”
“Take me back to…”
“Describe what happens when…”
“Can you tell me a bit about…”
“What’s it like when…”
“When you …what was …”
“How was it for you to…”
“What’s the likelihood of…”
“What do you think about…”
“When you hear…what goes through your mind…”
Recorded on January 22 of this year, this interview is an international issue told from Nova Scotia about disability and justice. You will need 21 minutes to listen to the entire recording … but it is a Master Class! Disability and The Justice System
What about you? What questions do you rely on to inspire conversation? What question do you most appreciate being asked about your business? Do share so we can all learn more!