Reading and understanding other people is not an easy task. We all see the world through different lenses and operate in different ways. One of the key skills in building trust and relationships with people is through questioning techniques.
The importance of questioning techniques is often overlooked, however asking the right questions can be one of the best ways to get to know someone and build trust with them. Here are our top 4 steps to becoming a world-class negotiator through questioning:
1. Understand that everyone is different and unique
The first point in mastering questioning techniques is to understand that different questions will need to be asked to different people, and understanding the mindset of others is they key to this.
To illustrate this point, let me tell you the story of Boris the Buck. Boris was a very stubborn Buck and would never do what he was told. Boris’ owner tried everything he could think of to steer Boris into his barn. He would push, prod, tempt with food and call out all different commands.
Boris wouldn’t budge from his nice corner of the paddock. It wasn’t until the owners’ patient and persistent Grandmother came to visit, that he made any headway with Boris. Grandma walked straight up to Boris and steered him ever-so-gently, by guiding him by the beard. She had found his sensitive point. From there, Boris and Grandma got along fantastically.
The moral of this story is that everyone has a sensitive point – a unique point of difference – and understanding this will help you know what questions to ask and how to successfully negotiate with them.
2. Learn to ask yourself the right questions
Before you can ask others the right questions, you must learn to ask yourself the right questions
Asking the right questions to yourself can actually change your physiology and emotions. For example, the struggling dressmaker who is having a hard time getting her business off the ground will undoubtedly have a lot of thoughts and worries going through her head. Take the following examples:
- Are my clothes good enough to be sold?
This question resonates sadness and is disempowering
- What new styles can I model my clothes on?
This question is inspiring and much more likely to create ambition in a person.
If you find yourself thinking of negative questions, try to be aware of this and challenge it by trying to turn it around and see it from a positive perspective. Your attitude will resonate with others, so it is an important first step in building relationships.
Clear your mind and get yourself off to a good start each day by asking the right questions. By changing your focus each day, you can change your life.
3. Leverage the funnelling technique
The funnelling technique is a communication process that helps ensure the right questions are asked. It can provide some structure to the art of negotiation and questioning and ensures that detailed answers are given. It’s called the funnelling technique because it begins with open-ended questions that gets the participant to elaborate and speak freely. Through a six-step process, questions are then narrowed down to get specific and detailed responses.
4. Learn from the high performers
Research shows that the highest performers on the planet asks the right questions. They first understand that everyone has a different perspective.
Then, they suspend judgement just long enough to understand someone else’s perspective. They ask questions to clear up the unknown and open up possibilities. They ask questions that inspire ideas and creativity. Questions that spur people into action. By actively undertaking strategic questioning techniques, you can be a high performer too.
The key to becoming a master negotiator lies in understanding the person you are negotiating with, however it is put into action through the questions you ask. As with anything, practice makes perfect, and the more you do it, the more confident and successful you will become.
If you’re ever feeling like practicing your negotiation and questioning skills, feel free to drop me a line on 1300 745 977 and show me what you’ve got in a completely non-judgemental environment – there’s nothing I enjoy more!