Communication "Tricks"

Every dialogue you have leads to either understanding each other or talking about two different things. Sometimes we don't even realize the other person doesn't have any idea of what you were talking about.

A general question to check if they understand what you just said is "Do you understand." - a question that is usually answered with "Yes." It's a closed questions, that is aiming at a specific information and the answer can only be yes or no. You don't really know that the person understood what you were saying. It could also be, that you were talking about the blue boat and your counterpart is colorblind. If he answers "Yes." he might think he is seeing the same thing as you are, but he is actually not. In every meeting and conversation where you want to be 100% sure that the other person and you have the same idea and information in your head, you need to ask the other person " Can you please repeat what I just said." or "What did you understand, what I just said? I want to check, if I could get my point across."

There are different question techniques that you can use to get to the information you want to get at. 

Questioning Techniques

Open questions begin with one of the question word such as, what, who, where, when or how.

  • How do you imagine the solution?

Why questions are not very useful. They question the behavior of the person, makes them want to back off  and feel offended. It adds pressure and makes people justify themselves, even if they did something great. A way to change this question would be to ask "Can you give me some context, I don't understand." or "Is there a reason behind?"

Closed questions request a specific information. From all information that is possibly available, you are aiming at one little bit only.

  • Were you on time?

Sometimes, this technique is useful because it's efficient. Other times, you keep information away from yourself. You have probably noticed how some people answer your question of "Why didn't you tell me?" with "You didn't ask." That is what can happen to you, when asking closed questions.

With leading questions you already suggest the answer and pretend you are still asking a question.

  • Don't you think it's disrespectful to be late for a meeting?

If you are asked a leading question, your first impulse is to say yes just due to the way the question is set up. It's manipulating, doesn't really aim for extra information and usually puts the person asked into a bad position. 

The other very important component of a successful and efficient conversation is the listening part. Many times, we don't put a lot of attention on what people are actually saying or talking about. We just add our own story, interrupt because we were just reminded of something.

Active Listening

Good listening skills are displayed when you keep quiet, show attention by noding, summarizing, repeating what you just heard and asking questions to specify or get an even deeper understanding of what the person was just talking about. To sum it up, it's called active listening. Active listening helps you to deepen the relationship with the other person and build up trust and appreciation.