Use the power of silence

sunvalleymtsI came home to discover a really interesting article sitting open on my browser — no doubt left there unintentionally by Denter (and spouse) Monica Guzman, thanks! — about how to be amazingly good at asking questions.

Frankly, I think that asking good questions is a pretty fundamental life skill, and one that it not all that difficult in the grand scheme of things. People like to talk about themselves, and appear smart, and asking good questions can allow them both of those opportunities.

But if you’re actually asking to learn about things, whether it’s about an industry, a piece of history, a trade secret (you jerk!), or anything else, then don’t forget about the power of silence:

Start getting comfortable with asking a question, waiting for response, listening to the response and then waiting some more. Many times the person you are questioning has more information and will bring it out when you wait for it. You have to be comfortable with that silent period before the dam breaks. Police and military interrogators use silence very effectively. People feel a need to fill the holes in the conversation and often they will then bring out the critical bit of information you seek.

You’ll note they mention law enforcement here. I’m pretty excited for the session at Dent this year with Mark Duncan, who employs this and many other methods on a regular basis to solve cold cases, rather a lot like Sherlock Holmes…

If you would like to join us at Dent this year, please request an invitation! There is still time.

(Awesome photo of Sun Valley by Thomas Hawk, circa Dent 2013)