If you’ve ever had to pitch an idea or persuade others of your point of view, then you know all about the natural reaction that bubbles up from within when you hear the word “no”, or when others begin to question or criticize your perspective. Instinctively, we tend to get defensive, and we try to immediately fight back and defend our position or project. But in my experience, it’s actually far more effective to take a completely different approach – to ask questions.
The next time you face opposition or resistance, hold yourself back from verbalizing all the reasons why you are right or why your project should get the go-ahead. Instead, ask a few well-chosen questions. “Why do you think that?” or “What led you to that conclusion?” will force others to articulate their assumptions, and will not only give you a useful insight into where they are coming from, but may also cause them to re-evaluate their position. I have found that asking questions not only helps me keep my defensiveness in check, but perhaps more importantly, takes my conversations to a deeper level. It allows you to get beyond the immediate disagreement and find out more about what the motivations are on all sides.
So have you found this to be true as well? Please … share your experiences, positive or negative.