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Productivity / Time management tips

Time management skills: Asking the right questions

As those with good time management skills will know, it's not about creating more time, but how we manage ourselves in the time we have. Therefore if you are looking for answers, it is worth investing some time in asking the right questions first.

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Asking good questions involves:

Planning

Take some time to work out the best question to ask to get the best possible answer. Remember a high quality question usually leads to a high quality answer.

Appropriate direction

Is your question clear, short and is your style and language understandable? You wouldn’t ask a kindergarten class a question in the way you would to a senior manager. If in doubt it’s a good idea to err towards simplicity.

Integrity

Are you hiding anything? Sometimes we have hidden agendas and don’t really speak the whole truth. This can often come across in our non-verbal language and influence the outcome. If the other person has any doubts about our intention or integrity, the result is often a similarly guarded response.

Now here are some tips on how to really listen for good answers:

"Silence might be golden, but it is also necessary for an answer to be heard."

Create the space

Do you stop and give some space for the other person to answer? Silence might be golden, but it is also necessary for an answer to be heard. If you’ve asked a question, then shut up and wait for the answer.

Want more articles like this? Check out the time management tips section.

Fully listen

…to everything the other person has to say before you prepare your answer. Often we will only partly listening to what is being said because we’re already thinking about what to say next. Instead, actively listen to everything that is being said and then formulate your response.

Clarify what you have heard

Ensure you have understood the meaning of the answer. You can do this by repeating back to the person what you have heard them say and then finish by stating “So tell me if I have got it right. What you mean is……..”

Here’s another question……What one question could you ask that would rocket you towards your business goals?

John Raymond

is a coach and trainer who helps people manage people. His aim is that his work will help you to love your work and those important people around you will love the way you work too.

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