Use Questions to Control the Conversation
Most of the time I watch people telling their story, thinking they are controlling the situation. Wow, what a mistake! What is really happening? Most of the time they are disengaging their audience. The disengagement comes from not being a part of the conversation – unless they want to interrupt the talker.
Control comes in various forms, from the highly effective to the totally ineffective. Lets go through some of the stages of control starting with the totally ineffective:
Out of Control – you are talking to fill air time. No confidence and no knowledge, just opinions without certainty. Here the talker is usually nervous and it shows to everyone listening. Random and spontaneous without a clear agenda or logic. Lost their listeners by talking with no interaction with the listeners.
Ineffective Control – Most of the time a person in ineffective control is talking without a clear understanding of what they are talking about. They are boring the listener, yet, have no clue about what is really happening. Some information is presented, unfortunately, since the listener is bored, they may have been thinking about something else and missed the point!
Some Control – Actually have a dynamic or unique style and others listen due the presentation rather than the subject. These are the attention gainers, who if they had a great message and a total understanding of their topic could gain total control. Yet, most of the time it is a presentation only format with a total lack of interaction. Thus, while the presentation showed promise, the real learning and understanding is missing in action. Most speakers and sales people are in this category.
Total Control – Be using questions to guide the flow of the conversation, this communicator is both effective and efficient. Because this person knows their subject very well, they know how to ask questions to gain both the attention of the listener and learn how much the listener knows about the topic. Now the real key is the questioner is engaging and using a process that allows for a self-discovery of information and wisdom.
The key for you is to practice your questioning so you can ask questions easily and with a natural flow of curiousness. This natural curiousness allows for you to ask more questions for both clarity and understanding. And, you will control the direction and flow of the conversation. The amazing thing about this process is others will see you as the great communicator as they do all the talking! Start today – ask more questions.
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