Welcome back to 7 Secrets To Mastering Communication
SECRET #5 – Asking Questions
Asking questions is a major key to mastering communication. Yet, so often most conversations are a battle for air-time with one person ending up shutting down when the other has done what I call the one-upmanship stunt and taken over the topic. Whether it’s casual bantering or expressing important concerns, hijacking a conversation is rarely conducive to enhancing your relationships over time.
Conversational hijacking happens when we are so eager to demonstrate our knowledge, awesomeness and worthiness to another person. This may be rationalized as being well-intended or being of service to another person but underneath that is an unconscious need to control, be right, be of service whether it’s requested or not, be responsible for another person’s emotions or reactions assuming or fearing that they are not able to handle their own emotions and responses.
3 Typical Conversation Hijacking Scenarios
You say, "I’ve got this problem with a coworker."
The other person says, “I had the same problem at work and I …” They add a solution or their point of view. It’s all about being the fixer because clearly they feel you need or want their advice.
You say, "This is my concern."
The other person says, “If I were you, I’d …” They add their stories, personal experience or quotes from the experts. It’s all about showing you their expertise without noticing that your eyes have glazed over.
You’ve been telling a story about a recent event that you are really excited about and want to share.
The other person says, “I can so relate. A couple years ago I had the same thing happen to me,” and the other person has trampolined into their own story, all about them and they never notice that you’ve tuned out, feeling like they’re not the least bit interested in what you’ve just shared with them.
How do you feel? Where have your thoughts and interest gone in the conversation? Let’s face it. We’ve all done this because we aren’t all skilled in the art of asking questions that would help the other person work out their issues for themselves.
If your intent is to enrich your relationships and support others, then start by giving the gift of gab. That means asking questions that allow the other person to ponder, reflect and search for their own solutions.
Ask These Questions Instead
Enter the conversation with the mindset that the other person has all the answers within. Bear in mind that even if you have the most riveting story, years of expertise and are chomping at the bit to share your wisdom and doctoring services, your crystal ball into another person’s world is always foggy.
Asking questions like these expands your conversations.
What kind of solutions have you thought about?
What outcome would you like to see?