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Stop Talking

Four simple questions to ignite action.

Tina Asher
Tina Asher
Two women having a conversation
Having a productive and supportive conversation involves listening

A while back, I had a heated conversation with my adult son around something he had a timeframe to complete and didn’t get it done, costing us both time and money to fix. He firmly stated his facts and I volleyed mine right back at him. We hung up both irritated and nothing solved. What should have been an efficient process took twice the work and energy. If I would have known then this process, I could have saved us both a lot of time and headaches. 

I’ve seen managers do something similar. They set up a meeting, hammer out their agenda and leave without much input, feedback or next steps.  

Here’s the irony.

If you do all the talking in a meeting or conversation, then you should just send an email and save your breath. You don’t gain any concepts, solutions, feedback or new ideas if you don’t allow time for dialogue.

What I’ve learned from both managing and coaching others, is there’s an effective way to have meetings or conversations where you get buy-in, accountability, and both walk away rejuvenated. The best thing is it doesn’t take a lot of time.

Here are four simple questions to ignite personal accountability and empower people to take action.

Question 1: What’s going well?  Notice it’s not “How’s it going,” or “How are you?” You want to know what they like to do or what they’ve accomplished. Give them time to brag a bit. It requires more than a one-word answer.

Question 2: What’s one thing you’d like to see improve? Then be quiet and listen. This gives the person an opportunity to have their voice heard, but with limitations. It shows you’re interested in what disturbs them, or what things could work better. You give them an opportunity to vent or let off steam and they feel valued. 

The crucial pivot. 

Question 3: What’s one thing you could do to improve that? Again, just listen, this might take them off guard a bit, but don’t let them off the hook. This is where they take personal accountability to help create a solution rather than just complain. If it truly hinders their progress, they’ll find a way to fix it. It’s easy to complain, it takes thought and creativity to take action. 

Question 4: What support do you need from me? Here’s where you let them know you’re here for them and want them to succeed and be happy. Your support conveys they’re not in it alone.

When you set consistent meetings and use the same formula, it trains the other person to come prepared with a solution and to take action. You become a great listener, boss, mentor, spouse, parent, and eliminate additional stress.

Close more loans, be more efficient, stay out of trouble.

Find more at Pro School
This article was originally published in the Mortgage Women Magazine May 2021 issue.
Tina Asher
Tina Asher

Tina Asher is a coach and founder of Build U Up Consulting.

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