Whether you are a lawyer, a negotiator or anyone trying to build better relationships – one of the most underrated communication skills is the ability to ask questions. Let me explain.
In elementary school, we all learned about the 5 “Ws and an H” or Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. These questions, we were told, are the way to analyze and better understand a story, a problem or any situation we encounter. These are also what I would call “curiosity questions” – and if you are a parent, you KNOW what I mean: Why is the sky blue? How do you do that? Where do babies come from? etc.
As adults, our urge to ask these curiosity questions diminishes, and we tend to just take things at face value because we don’t have time (or patience) to do the proper investigation.
When it comes to conflicts with others, this lack of curiosity can be dangerous. We don’t ask for more information about the other’s point of view, and we simply jump to conclusions based on our own understanding of the situation – which leads to frustration and unresolved conflict.
Instead, we should go back to those simple questions we asked growing up. When you are confronted with a situation where you are at odds with another party, start by asking:
- Who is involved or should be involved?
- What led to the problem?
- When did our customers start experiencing the problem?
- Where are the tools or the data we need to resolve this?
- Why has this become a bigger issue?
- How can we work together to resolve the problem?
Chances are, if you start asking questions, you’ll learn something new – not only about the issue but also about the other person. Be curious and discover the key information you need to work things out for good.
Are the people in your business or organization suffering from unresolved conflict? Business Relationship Edge has the solution and is available to help you make peace. Give us a call at (732) 859-8419 to learn more and schedule your 30-minute complimentary assessment.