He says that type of equipment “doesn’t cut it.”
So we ask “what’s wrong with that type of equipment?” The open question prompts him to expand on the problems. (Notice we didn’t ask why. More on that key piece below.)
But we soon realize we can do better. We’re learning about what he doesn’t like—bit of a waste of time, much productive to get the other person talking about they do like.
So, we interrupt—yes, we interrupt—and say, ”Hold on, let’s change the focus: What is it you do like about the other type of equipment?”
Now he’s off. His energy increases. He’s animated and talking articulately about what he likes. A couple more open questions to develop the theme and he suddenly realizes a deeper reason for his preference—quite a profound one in fact. Now, he has something he didn’t have before.
And we all have the shared pleasure of something discovered. Our relationship is strengthened, and rapidly.
So simple and yet so powerful…
Ask open questions, get people talking about what they like or want, and dig deep until something new emerges.
Is that a practiced part of your skill-set? I’d suggest it is.
The trouble with “why?”
The trouble with a question beginning with why is (1) it can sound judgemental and (2) it’s vague about what we are looking for. We give away control of the conversation by asking it.
We can always ask a better question than one beginning with “why” such as “what’s the reason for…?” or “what is you like about…?” That way we keep control.
That one piece of learning alone makes a big difference—another good one to practice.