After years of mediating disputes, and facilitating teams through conversation and planning, I have learned the power of the question.
In a conversation, when one individual makes an accusation, blame statement, judgment or inaccurate assumption, the typical human response is to defend, retaliate or react (with some form of a verbal jab). Each of these will likely be met with a defensive response which then takes the focus off the issue, and the conversation runs the risk of being derailed.
Instead of firing back a defensive comment, verbal jab or blame, ask a question. Here are four questions that can move the dialogue to be more successful.
- When you said _______, what did you mean by that?
- Tell me more about what you mean about ________
- How does ______ connect with the issue of ___________?
- Help me understand…