The best questions to ask

If you have been following me for a while, you'll know I always insist on the two pillars of communication: active listening and asking open questions. 

But what ACTUAL questions can you ask for fast results (= better knowledge of your audience and the project, while prepping the field for selling your ideas)?

Of course, it depends on the project you are working on, the person you have in front of you, the circumstances etc., however, assuming you are trying to establish rapport and want to sell your services or ideas, in my own experience as a coach and as a consultant, the top questions (and follow up questions) to ask are:

❓ What is your number one challenge? How does it affect things/people? 

(Current reality/barriers)

❓ What are we trying to accomplish here? What does success look like? Why? 

(Future reality/aspiration)

❓ How does this align with your current strategy/mission? 

(finding connection points with existing structures to lower barriers of acceptance)

❓ What happens if you do nothing? What would nothing cost you? 

(Focusing on what they would lose: people hate losing something more than they love acquiring something new!)

❓ Who is responsible/accountable for this? Who/how they will be impacted by this? 

(Focusing on the stakeholders involved)

This article was originally written for the Green Gorilla weekly newsletter. If you liked it, subscribe to receive more articles like this and learn how to communicate sustainability better, how to be more productive without selling your soul to the work devil, and how to make an impact in the world. Here is the link:

Tags: sustainability, soft skills

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