Nine Ways Questions Can Transform Professional and Personal Relationships - Slide 6

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They help you zero in on what matters most to the other person.

The next time you’re talking to someone and realize you’ve “lost” her — she’s fidgeting, she’s stopped asking questions, maybe she’s sneaking glances at the clock — ask this question: “What is the most important thing we should be discussing today?” You will instantly connect with what really matters to her — and the conversation that ensues will help her see you as relevant and valuable. Even if your agenda doesn’t get met, hers will. And then she will want to enthusiastically reciprocate. In business it’s critical to be seen as advancing the other person’s agenda of essential priorities and goals. When time is spent together on issues that are truly important to both parties, the relationship deepens and grows.

In his post, “Asking the Right Questions Can Have a Dramatic Impact on Your Life,” Don Tennant wrote about the importance of knowing what questions to ask in a given situation. The topic warrants further discussion, to elaborate on exactly why mastering the art of asking questions is so essential.

In that post Don shared some tips from Andrew Sobel, a management consultant, executive coach and co-author of “Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others,” about asking questions during a job interview. To underscore the importance of asking questions in a more general context, here are nine ways Sobel says questions can transform professional and personal relationships.

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