Communication Tip of the Week - Ask Follow-up Questions

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About a year ago, I was on travel for work. I was at dinner with a coworker and his wife. I'll never forget how his wife made me feel. Up to that point, I had met her once in passing. At our dinner, she asked so many follow-up questions that I felt like the most important person in her life. She invested time and energy to find out about me. I'll never forget that night.

What's the Problem & Why Is It Important?

We all know that one person. You know who they are. They don't listen when you're telling a story. They're just waiting for you to finish so they can tell their story. YUCK! Nobody likes that guy/girl.

You can't be an active listener when all you're thinking about is how your story is so much better than the other person.

What Can You Do?

When someone is telling a story, pay attention. Don't just act interested and then tell a story about yourself in the same situation.

Andrew Carnegie's landmark book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has six ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

You'll notice #4 is all about being a good listener. Listen to what other people say and ask them follow-up questions. When they tell you a story about their weekend, ask them if they have any plans for the upcoming weekend.

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