10/04/2012

By Gavin Meikle, Head Of Learning And Founder Of inter-activ

Why is it that we don’t ask more questions -not just of newsletter writers like me but of our colleagues, bosses and clients? I remember being in a meeting with a new sales director with an MBA no less, who had been brought in as a bit of a “change agent”.

Well the problem was that he seemed to be speaking a different language from the rest of us mere mortals. As I looked around the table I could see my colleagues nodding and smiling and it looked as if they understood every word although to me it sounded like gobbledygook. “It must be me” I remember thinking to myself and then we broke for a bathroom break. During that five minutes I discovered that most of my colleagues hadn’t a clue what our director was going on about either but they were all too scared to admit it in case they looked stupid in front of this new corporate hot shot.

On returning from the break our director continued his presentation, blissfully unaware that much of what he was saying was literally going over the top of his audience’s heads.

Suddenly I found my hand going up to indicate I had a question. All eyes turned to me as I said something like “I’m sorry Tony, it’s probably just me being thick, but what exactly do you mean by zero based budgeting”.

Unfazed, my colleague took time to clarify what he meant and suddenly I understood.

At the next break, a number of my colleagues sidled up to me and said “Thank god you asked that question, I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about either.”

Does this story ring any bells for you? If so then perhaps it will prompt you to do one of two things.

1. Overcome your fear of looking stupid and just ask the question when you don’t understand something.

2. Encourage others around you to have the confidence to speak up if they don’t understand what you are saying.

So in the spirit of practicing what I preach, I'd like to challenge you to question me. What have I said in this or previous articles that you haven't understood? What are your burning issues around the topic of communication? What’s keeping you awake at night? Send me your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them in future editions of Crucial Communication Skills.

Don’t be shy, remember that there is no such thing as a “stupid question”.

If something is puzzling you then I know for sure that there will be lots of other people who are also looking for an answer too.

So go on. Dash off a quick email now. It’ll only take you a few minutes but it could lead to a solution that will make you more money or reduce your stress levels.

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