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The life-changing art of asking instead of telling

By Quartz at Work

Open new routes to successful conversations with colleagues, friends, and familyRead full story

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  • Richard Stubbe
    Richard StubbeBloomberg LP

    One of the best things I learned is to ask open-ended questions that assume nothing and give the other person a chance to open up. Where do you work? What do you do there? (She may be the CEO.) How long have you been there? And then ask other questions that show you were paying attention to the answers.

  • Naveen Jain
    Naveen JainproFounder & CEO at Viome

    The best conversations are the ones with no agenda and genuinely caring about the person you are having conversation with. There is no art or science other than being a kind, caring and intellectually curious person.

  • Dave Edwards
    Dave EdwardsFounder at Sonder Scheme

    An interesting read about asking questions. And perhaps not asking the most normal of questions:

    “Paradoxically, “Hi, how are you?” does not qualify as “humble inquiry” because it is culturally scripted to elicit a mere “Fine, how are you?” Schein writes, “I have observed that the only time I tell others how I really am is when they say something less scripted, such as ‘How are things going?’ and add an expectant look.”

  • Jay Lauf
    Jay LaufCEO at Quartz

    The willingness to ask questions that remove your status is in many ways the strongest indicator that you’re secure in who you are.

  • Jay Margolis
    Jay MargolisChairman at Intuit Consulting

    Communicating in a curious vs judgmental manner is very powerful! Takes practice, I’m still trying.

  • I’m often most entertained when engrossed in real conversation with someone else. Pleasantries and scripted responses are simply polite ways to move about your day. I enjoy being asked questions and asking questions - when the time is right. Let’s not do it in my doorway or in the hall, but rather over lunch or a coffee or someplace we can take the time to connect and learn about one another without distractions.

    Asking questions will help you understand people better and ultimately this allows

    I’m often most entertained when engrossed in real conversation with someone else. Pleasantries and scripted responses are simply polite ways to move about your day. I enjoy being asked questions and asking questions - when the time is right. Let’s not do it in my doorway or in the hall, but rather over lunch or a coffee or someplace we can take the time to connect and learn about one another without distractions.

    Asking questions will help you understand people better and ultimately this allows you to build better relationships. Well thought out questions and honest answers can add significant value to your personal and professional lives. Use the thoughts discussed in this article to build a close-knit network of friends and colleagues.

  • Saket V
    Saket VManaging Partner at Dynamicbuzz.net

    Conversation is much easier when there is genuine curiosity. Genuine curiosity comes from sincere liking for people. It’s hard to start and carry a conversation when your focus is on yourself.

  • Dana Filek-Gibson
    Dana Filek-GibsonFreelance writer and editor

    "In theory we love curiosity and questions, but we routinely elevate people who have (or at least appear to have) the answers. We say we’re fed up with mansplainers or any ‘splainer, and may be afraid we unknowingly act like one, but we prop up “tellers” all the time, in turn putting pressure on ourselves to become one."

  • Madis Kabash
    Madis KabashVideo Fellow at Quartz

    Interesting article that makes you think about the important parts of communication that get lost in corporate culture, social events and parties (even with peers).

  • Jeff Rigden
    Jeff RigdenPresident at Fabrication Group of Georgia

    Relationships, both business and personal, are made stronger when one shows sincere interest and concern. That often demands one's evaluation of the words and the tone with which they are using when talking with (not at) a person.

  • Lyndon Way
    Lyndon Way

    'One of Schein’s central observations: We’re inconsistent in what we say we value versus what the “artifacts” tell us. In this case, our culture says it values humble attitudes, but our artifacts—our most popular instagrams, our celebrated CEOs, best-selling business book titles and subjects—undermine that ideal.' Well said. Keeping a perspective of our journey together on this tiny little planet in the vastness of the universe may help...

  • Excellent piece!

  • Yuzuha Oka
    Yuzuha Okajournalist

    The art of asking is essential for journalists, but this is also useful in everyday life.

  • Donald Driessen
    Donald Driessen

    In addition to the technique what's needed is a another technique that puts one at ease opening up for the dialog to occur....

  • Some interesting points offered here....

  • carolina polo
    carolina polochief marketing officer

    Great read

  • Meelo Bayakly
    Meelo Bayakly

    Interesting concept

  • Clay Nails
    Clay Nails

    This reminds me of Anton Chekhov’s observation that “it is not life’s answers which interest me. It is the questions.” I agree.

  • Michael ORourke
    Michael ORourkeBNYMellon

    It's a good read..I ask lots of questions to my manager, his statement, if you ask too many questions, you don't look like you know enough about your job role. 22 yrs, in the same job role.

  • Neeraj Sharma
    Neeraj SharmaSoftware Engineer

    Amazing insights..

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