Improve Casual Encounters with Three Sincere Questions


“I know your schedule got slammed last week,” a manger said to a colleague.  “I hope this week will be better.”

The colleague answered, “I have a lot of deliverables this week also.  I am just trying to keep my head above water.” 

“I am in the same boat.  I think everyone has a full plate.” 

Now, check out a restructuring of this exchange to go something like this.

“I know last week was a tough. Do you think this week will be any better?”

“I think so but I’m not sure.  There are just too many uncertainties.”

“I heard that.  Is there a particular uncertainty that worries you most?”

“Yes, a major customer is inquiring about advancing a delivery date.  That one worries me.”

“Really.  Is it the same customer we had trouble with last quarter?”

In the first conversation, the greeter inquired and then began telling his story, “I’m in the same boat . . .”

The second conversation began with a question and followed up with two specific questions based on the colleague’s response.  A recent Harvard study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that a sincere question and two specific follow-up questions made the other party feel more respected and appreciated.

What do you think?

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