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INSIGHTS / Oct 3, 2016

What Are The Best Questions To Ask?

Posted by Martin Shervington

 As we ease into the digital world with NLP, I want you to take a step back and reflect for a moment…
When was the last time you learned a new language?
Personally, I have failed to learn at least eight or nine languages in my lifetime. This is impressive by anyone’s count, but fortunately for me as a writer I have grasped many subtleties of English. And it’s often been said that one of my linguistic strengths has been the ability to ask good questions.

When you first learned language as a child, you went through a process of being corrected by your elders, but then you got ‘stuck’ with the patterns.
You have an opportunity to start to shake off the cobwebs and re-pattern how you approach certain situations.

As such, I thought I would help you re-train your brain a little by giving you some of the questions I most like to ask:

  1. What is the outcome you are seeking in any given situation?
    Are you in the most effective emotional state in order to achieve the outcome you want?”
    If not, how can you change your emotional state into a more helpful one.

  2. If I do nothing what is likely to happen?
    Am I willing/happy with this?

  3. How could shifting to a different digital modality improve my communication?
    If you are using email, could you shift to a call?

  4. Is my communication being received as it is intended?
    And how would you know? i.e. by what criteria are you judging whether your communication if effective?

  5. How are you about to f*ck this up?
    Knowing how the ways in which you self sabotage will help you defuse the bomb before the fuse is lit.

  6. What needs to happen (in this situation):
    now?
    next?
    to be able to ‘do X’?
    in order for this not to be a problem anymore?

  7. Ask other people: “What is the outcome of this meeting/event from your perspective?”

  8. Who can do a task better than you? Why are you not asking/paying them to do it?

  9. Can this task be delegated? If not, is it a one off task?
    If so, create a process e.g. using a video/screenshare in order to make it easy for other people to do it.

  10. How can you efficiently recruit people?
    I use a test approach when recruiting freelancers on Upwork.com - paying a small amount for 1/10 of the task I want created, and seeing which of the four people being interviewed perform best.

  11. What are you assuming in this situation that may not be correct/useful?

  12. How honest are you being with yourself ‘in this situation’?

  13. What is the root cause of this emotion/feeling?
    And how then do you shift it?

  14. Is this a problem that is solved by money?
    Very often these are the better type of problems to have.

  15. Is this a strategic decision you are making? Is it aligned to your strategy? Or is it at a tactical or operational level?

The simple asking of the question to yourself or to other people will start to open up an alternative view, or at least it may do.

“Why give you some of this thinking now?” I hear you cry! Well, in the digital world you can easily get swept into ‘just acting’ (this is at an operational level), instead of aiming for the actions you take to fit into the tactics that will enable you to achieve your overall strategic objections.

But much of this is about ‘you’, and the task or conversations you have with others.
To get a better understanding of the world we know live in, you also need to appreciate how much is going on that is determined by ‘culture’.
Let’s dive in a little into the questions you can ask to discover the shared perspectives people may have:

  1. Is the way people are behaving an indication of a difference in behaviour for one person, or is this ‘how these people generally behave’?
    You’ll see this on Facebook threads all the time - some people are ‘jokey’, some are rude, some are super friendly, some are into religious languaging etc.

  2. How can I ‘hold my own viewpoint’ whilst still understanding and appreciating this new one?

  3. How do I feel about this new perspective? Am I judging this based on any past experiences I may have that does not serve me well in this situation?

  4. What could be happening within the minds of the people in these groups that is creating these behaviours?

  5. What is the role of the technology people are using in the shared culture that is being formed?

  6. How can you learn about leveraging technology for you too to form better community relations?

  7. Who do you know that is technologically more literate that you? (as a group)
    How can you start to connect with their ideas more? (e.g. follow on Twitter, join their community etc)

All in all…

Questions are powerful. Asking ourselves questions forces us to consider ‘something’ for a moment, and asking questions of others can lead to them changing their world.
With information spreading far and wide online, and surfacing in Google Search for the coming millennia, we are able to influence people like never before.
And that is where we are going next...how to more effectively influence people online.

 

Download your comprehensive free guide "What is NLP?" today

FURTHER READING
The history of NLP, part 7: Bateson’s Contributions to NLP