Questions and comments in group interactions attack the relational challenges these interactions create. They can occur at any time during the interaction, even the beginning. Getting the first one is most important. It can open the dam. Receiving them though is another matter. Saying, “I encourage questions in this meeting” or “Feel free to ask questions,” doesn’t cut it. People want proof that we want their questions and comments.
First, we allow plenty of time for questions, even a ridiculous amount. Leaving only a few minutes isn’t proof we want questions. If there aren’t any, we end the interaction regardless of time remaining especially if we will have further interactions with the same group.
Second, we must discipline ourselves to wait when we ask, as much as thirty seconds if need be. Meanwhile, we don’t look at our notes or around the room. We look at the people. Their eyes are best. How can we be sincere about their questions if we’re not even looking for them?
Third, we can frame our request to show appreciation and ask for their help such as:
I’m done with my remarks. The remaining time is for addressing other points through your questions. I’d appreciate someone getting us started by asking or commenting about something that he found interesting.
Here, we’ve embedded four themes:
- Appreciation for questions
- Questions help us
- Being the one
People feel good when they help especially if we appreciate it. We give special appreciation to the first one who helps by being the initiator. We recognize that the first question is very important. Finally, we suggest that there is more, if they ask.
Seen from another perspective, we are allowing others to make this presentation, meeting or other group interaction theirs not ours.
- Group Interactions, Molding Relationships and Culture
- Group Interactions, the Two Types and Their Ratio
- Attacking Relational Challenges in Group Interactions
- Initiating Questions and Comments in Group Interactions
- Encouraging More Questions in Group Interactions
- Forming and Tapping Relationships in a Group Interaction
- Leveraging Group Interactions Afterwards
- Advance Work for Positioning Group Interactions
- Leveraging Group Interactions The Complete Strategy