Questions are an essential tool for any business, but are you asking the right ones in the right way? A question can help you find out information, it can prove a point and it can help you make a sale. So, the most important question is: How do you ask the right questions?

As you may have guessed from the title we are headed for a trusty acronym, one that I came up with to help me when structuring my questions. If you can keep these tips and tricks in mind when you are planning to ask people questions, then you are much more likely to get the answers you need.

 

Question your questions – what is the question, why are you asking it and who are you asking it to? When you are planning to ask a question, you need to be able to answer these points and more (and many of the following tips relate back to this one).

Understand your goal – a question should have a goal but what that goal is can vary depending on the situation. A question’s purpose is rarely as simple as just providing an answer. It is more often along the lines of getting feedback, reinforcing marketing or sales messages and collecting opinions.

Expand on your initial question – your first question will get you your first response, your second question should be about the response you just got. It is a rare and wonderful experience when you ask a simple question and get all the information you need in one go. It is much more likely you will need to encourage people to talk more about the areas you want them to.

Speak the right language – don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of jargon and an acronym (as evidenced by this article) but when you are asking questions it is more important to spell everything out in a way that everyone understands than to save a few seconds with a quick abbreviation, IMHO (sorry couldn’t resist that one).

Transition from one question to the next – this is not the same as expanding on your question, this is more about planning the flow of your questions. Good questions take people on a journey and the best way to make sure they don’t get lost along the way is to plan your route in advance and have a clear vision on where your next question is headed.

Information comes from listening – don’t forget the key part of asking a question is getting an answer. Even if you are positive you know what the person’s answer will be, make sure you listen to what they have to say. They could surprise you with insights you never thought of and even if they do say what you expect, they still want the chance to tell you.

One thing at a time – one question is usually not enough but multi part questions are not the answer. Expand on answers, transition from question to question but don’t ask more than one thing per question. If you ask two or three things in a single question you are more than likely to only get the answer to one of them.

Neutrality – this does not mean all your questions need to be neutral, it just means you need to be aware of their level of neutrality. If you want an unbiased, honest opinion, be neutral. If you want to get someone fired up, push a certain point of view or lead people to a set conclusion, you want it to be anything but!

Any questions? Contact The Consultants’ Community today at info@theconsultantscommunity.com.au

We hear the term small business a lot these days, and October is small business month here in Australia, but the question is are you running a small business or are you running a micro business?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says you are only classified as a small business if you employ between 5 and 19 people. If you employ 20 plus people you just entered the medium category and if there are four or less of you then you just became a micro business.

The problem is that this is only one way that your company’s status as a small business can be measured. The Australian Tax Office has a completely different system in place that is based on revenue. If you bring in less than $2,000,000 a year in revenue, they call you a micro business. If your revenue figures are between $2,000,000 and $10,000,000 then you get to call yourself a small business.

As you can see it can get a little confusing and these two organisations are not the only ones to define this category of business differently. If you spend a little time online, you will find many more ways to define the size of your business both from Australian and from international sources.

So, the question is why has no one come up with a universal definition of a small business? I think the answer is that there really is no such thing as a small business or a micro business. To the people involved in the running of a business it is never small, it is their world. To the loyal customers of a business, the way its size is classified is not something they tend to consider. If you have happy customers and a passion for what you do, then putting a label on your business size is the last thing you should be doing. If we think small, we stay small so remember that your business is as big as you think it is.

Do you want help realising the full potential of your business? Contact The Consultants’ Community today.

What if I told you that there was a simple question that could change the way you run your business? If there was
something you could ask yourself every time you did a task at work that had the potential to make you more successful, would you be interested in knowing what that was? Most importantly, will you be honest with yourself when you answer it.

The question is: “Can you do a better job?”

Whatever the task you have just completed, take a step back and ask yourself if you could have done a better job.

If the answer is yes and you know you could have done a better job you need to look at what the reasons are as to why you didn’t. Is it a lack of time? A lack of motivation? A lack of passion about the outcome? Is it an issue you can fix so next time you can do a better job or is it simply a case of you could have done it better but you just didn’t want to?

If the answer is no and you believe you have done your best and could not have done more, but you are still unhappy with the result, it is time to admit you need help. If you can’t do it better and your best is not good enough, go and find someone who can either teach you to do it better or who can do it for you. We cannot all be the best at everything and it is impossible for one person to know everything which means it is ok to ask for help.

If you can be honest with yourself about whether you can do a better job, then the possibilities are endless.

Want to talk to The Consultants’ Community about those possibilities? Contact us today to set up a meeting.