Questions vs Strategic Reflective statements
Are you a question person? Do you love asking other people question after question?
A skill, we might add that is very valuable, but might start to sound like an interview. Would it be helpful to learn how to balance thought provoking questions in your conversations?
Make sure to read to the end for this can’t miss communication tip!
Questions are great tools in communication. They can draw people out, they can help individuals to be curious and they can be great tools to help people connect when they are just getting to know one another.
However, one thing to take note of with questions, and with your communication, is that questions subconsciously communicate that you DO NOT UNDERSTAND someone or something.
Why is this relevant? Because if you are in the classroom and trying to learn, asking questions is a great tool to try and understand the concept better. If you are out on a first date with someone, and asking questions, it’s a great way to say, “I don’t understand you, but I want to.”
However if you are having a deep, heartfelt, emotional conversation, questions could become a roadblock to communication. Or if you are a leader asking your team member questions about their process, you might un-intentionally be communicating that you don’t understand and question their process.
Strategic Reflective statements are a great tool to use in communication, as they subconsciously communicate, “I understand you”, without you having to say the words, “I understand you!”
Strategic Reflective statements are not parroting, paraphrasing or repeating what the other person said. Instead we are stepping inside of their shoes, and getting in their head (and out of our own head) to paint the picture of what they see.
Here’s an example of a deep strategic reflection.
Person A: “I’m just so tired of it all. I have so many balls in the air, I’m so scared I’m going to drop one and become a failure. It feels hopeless sometimes.”
Person B: “It’s like you’re a hamster on a hamster wheel, just keeping everything going, while no one is checking in with you to see how you’re doing.”
Do you see the depth? Do you see we aren’t communicating from our world view, we are communicating from THEIR world view. We are stepping beside someone, seeing what they see and trying to communicate that back to them.
Communication challenge: Next time you think about asking someone a question, take a moment to pause and instead think of a deep, empathetic strategic reflection. We bet you’ll get more insight, more sharing and more engagement from the person you’re speaking with.