One of the skills of successful women entrepreneurs is their ability to ask the right questions. The right questions are not merely firing away few couple of question marks (???) at every end of your sentences, but questions that could give you pertinent information to help you advance your business. So, how do you do it? The following steps will help you practice and eventually learn the art of crafting questions that give results.
1. Learn the value of silence. During conversations with your prospective clientele, you need to learn how to pause and when to pause.
During the pauses, develop an eye to notice and observe facial expressions and reactions of the person you are talking to or to put it simply, learn how to read visual clues. People need some space and time to process the information that you are imparting hence talking nonstop will not give you that chance to know if the other person understands you. And during this time or during pauses, ask questions like, “What do you think?”, “Do you agree?” or “Would you feel it would be best if ______________?” and other open-ended questions that could encourage participation from the other person.
2. Learn how to listen. Communication is not only made up of words or information being sent or delivered to the other person. You, being the sender of the information, should learn how to effectively listen. Listening to the other person will give you a chance to ask relevant questions and relevance of information pertains not only to what is relevant for you but it should also be of important to the other person you are conversing with. You won’t be able to ask effective questions if the interest of the other person wanders off to other topics or other activities that might be going on around you.
3. Be prepared. Being prepared does not mean that you need to rehearse what you will ask. Rather, do a bit of research, for instance if you are attending an event, do some research on the type of event and the possible interests of the people who are going to be attending the event. Needless to say, if you are going to an event for women entrepreneurs, you must know their points of interest and that is basically on business or on being a woman entrepreneur.
4. Be in control. Just to be clear, being in control does not mean that you will manipulate the conversation. Nope, it does not work that way, being in control means that you should keep the conversation on topic. Admit it, during conversations, many people have the tendency to veer away from the topic or talk about many things at the same time. Hence, you will not be getting relevant information that will serve your purpose.
Learning how to ask the right questions is not only for data gathering to serve your business but it will also help you establish good long-term business relationships. So whether you are a budding entrepreneur who is working for your start-up company, or a seasoned woman entrepreneur, mastering the art of asking the right and effective questions will help you improve the way you communicate with your prospective clientele and your peers.