15 must-have questions you need to be a better communicator

One of the current COVID-19 trends I’m noticing is people becoming re-disconnected from their team or organization (many due to the new school year starting) and they have reverted back to disorientation from recommitment regarding change (Time to Effectiveness).

As a result, people are wanting more “air time” from their leaders. They don’t want answers on how to fix things, they want to be listened to. Some leaders find this difficult. I would say, “It’s simple. Just ask them How’s it going?” As your people become more disconnected, their answers to this question become more shallow. You may hear, “Fine.” or “I’m busy.” or “I’m living the dream.” or “I’m hangin’ in there like a hair in a biscuit.” The best leaders today are leveling up their communication game by asking better questions. It’s time to be better.

Below is a list of 15 questions you may use for any conversation, project, sales call, annual review, situation, roadblock, challenge, and opportunity. These 15 questions come from four of the most simple, practical, and valuable tools I have found for starting conversations. The first four questions on this list come from the AAR (After Action Review). Questions 5-8 come from the RealTime Coaching model WDIP (Want-Doing-Is-Plan). Questions 9-12 are from the “SWOT” model (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats), and the last three questions are from a simple approach called “Continue-Stop-Start”.

Here are the 15 questions:

#1. What did we set out to accomplish?

#2. What actually happened?

#3. What are the sustains?

#4. What are the improves?

#5. What do we Want?

#6. What are we currently Doing?

#7. Is what we’re doing working?

#8. What is our Plan?

#9. What are our Strengths?

#10. What are our Weaknesses?

#11. What are our Opportunities?

#12. What are our Threats?

#13. What should we Continue to do?

#14. What should we Stop doing?

#15. What should we Start doing?

You will need to put your style on these questions. Take these and make them your own. Here’s an example: Instead of asking “What did we set out to accomplish?” maybe the better fit is “What were your sales goals for the year?”. Instead of asking “How’s it going?”, maybe a better question is “What are you doing that’s working best right now (sustains)?”

The questions work. They take practice and an intentional shift from your old style. If you have questions on the questions, reach out to me. We go in-depth with these questions as well as uncover how your personality style is helping and holding you back in our RTC workshops.

Ryan Lisk: ryan@liskassociates.com or call 859-421-7966.

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