Sometimes I think we talk too much. We try to be too "interesting" and we aren't curious enough or all that "interested." If you're interested, you should be doing a lot more asking of questions and listening than providing answers and blabbing on about yourself.
But do we really know how to listen to our clients? Try this experiment. Next time you have a call or a meeting with a client and they ask you a question, answer their question with your own question.
It could be as mundane as,
Question: “Sally, what’s the status of the Blah press release?”
Answer: “Why, are you concerned that its taking too long or are you worried about it?”
Too often I think we just get into response mode without taking a second to try and understand what’s behind someone’s question. You never know what kind of additional information you’ll get.
Here’s another scenario.
You’re at a review/preview meeting and presenting some results or an idea to make a change. Stop. Ask. What do you think of these results? What did that do for your company or did it help you move the needle forward? Why/why not?
And lastly, you’re in a client strategy session or a new business meeting.
The VPM is talking about his go to market strategy. Stop. Ask. Is this new and has it been working for you? Why did you do that? What else will you do? Where do you want to be a year from now? What is your business plan? What would really make the earth move for you?
.... And just keep asking questions. You’ll be amazed at how much more interesting and engaging the conversation gets, how smart it makes you look, and how much smarter you will be.
Change the ratio of questions to answers... Ask more questions than you give answers — Get out of reaction mode. Try and be more Interested than you are Interesting and see what happens.