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Shut up and eat your french fries: Asking Effective Questions

This session is dedicated to the possibility that professionals can greatly increase the value they provide to their customers if they hone their skills at asking better, more effective questions. Developing an enhancing this skill is not easy because it requires us to rethink the paradigms and prejudices of the past. If you would like to contribute to a conversation about this topic, please join Ed Kless, Sage senior director of partner development and strategy.

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Shut up and eat your french fries: Asking Effective Questions

  1. 1. Shut Up and Eat Your French Fries: Asking Effective Questions Ed Kless @edkless #FlaggCA2016
  2. 2. Why do kids ask so many questions and why do they stop? @edkless #FlaggCA2016 We enter school as question marks and leave as periods.
  3. 3. Great products, companies, even industries, often begin with a question, yet few companies actually encourage questioning in any substantive way. There are no departments or training programs focused on questioning; no policies, guidelines, best practices. On the contrary, many companies — whether consciously or not — have established cultures that tend to discourage inquiry in the form of someone’s asking, for example, “Why are we doing this particular thing in this particular way?” – Warren Berger, A More Beautiful Question @edkless #FlaggCA2016
  4. 4. Language was invented to ask questions. Answers may be given by grunts and gestures, but questions must be spoken. Humanness came of age when man asked the first question. Social stagnation results not from a lack of answers but from the absence of the impulse to ask questions. -Eric Hoffer
  5. 5. What do questions determine? • the quality of our experiences • how well we understand others • how we relate to the world • what is important and what is not • our course of actions and direct the actions of others @edkless #FlaggCA2016
  6. 6. What is an effective question? • Have valued answers • Have a purpose • Are effectively delivered @edkless@edkless #FlaggCA2016
  7. 7. What are some examples of poor questions? • Manipulate • Try to gain power • Intimidate • Boast • Confuse • Contain jargon • Make yourself look bad • Ask "How" too early @edkless@edkless #FlaggCA2016
  8. 8. How? vs. What matters! BECOME: How do you do it? What refusal have I been postponing? How long will it take? What is the commitment I am willing to make? How much does it cost? What is the value of it to me? How do you get those people to change? What is my contribution to the problem? How do you measure it? What is the judgment I need to make? How have other people done it successfully? What do we want to create together? @edkless@edkless #FlaggCA2016
  9. 9. @edkless #FlaggCA2016
  10. 10. How do you set up questions? @edkless • Create a distinction from the past • Give permission for unpopular answers • Avoid advice and replace it with curiosity • Think about the risk order » Possibility and dissent come earlier » Ownership, commitment, and gifts come later @edkless #FlaggCA2016
  11. 11. What do great questions do? • Engage people in a intimate way • Confront them with their freedom to make a choice • Invite them to create a new possibility in the future • Have an impact even if the person refuses to answer them • Express that change is difficult and unpredictable • Three qualities:  Ambiguous  Personal  Edgy @edkless@edkless #FlaggCA2016
  12. 12. @edkless #FlaggCA2016
  13. 13. What are some examples of great questions? Would it be appropriate at this time to ask you a few questions? @edkless@edkless #FlaggCA2016
  14. 14. Effective Questioning – Getting to Value Recognize a “measurable” word • Revenue • Cost • Customer satisfaction • Quality • Performance • Productivity • Et al. Ask Mahan Khalsa’s Five “Golden Questions” • How do you measure it? • What is it now? • What do you want it to be? • What is the value of the difference? • Over time (usually one year)? @edkless@edkless #FlaggCA2016
  15. 15. What are some examples of great questions? • Would it be appropriate at this time to ask you a few questions? • What is the crossroads you face at this time? • What is the story you keeping telling about the problems you face? • What is your contribution to the very thing you complain about most? • What is the value that your organization can create for your customers? • Who are your heroes and why? • What is the question that if you had the answer would make you free? @edkless@edkless #FlaggCA2016
  16. 16. Any Questions?
  17. 17. © 2015, The Sage Group plc or its licensors. Sage, Sage logos, Sage product and service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of The Sage Group plc or its licensors. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Thank you Ed Kless @edkless