L for Listening and Q for Questions

I have been fascinated with the Socratic type of questioning since I heard about it first in Creativity and Personal Mastery Course. I am also captivated by zen Koans like “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” These are questions which do not have a definite answer, and the purpose is to open your mind, think outside the box – literally.

And now that I am a people leader I am slowly discovering what great tool questions are. At my recent Vipassana course, whenever one of the Dhamma servers would ask the question to the teacher his response was to ask us the question back, and that just stood out for me. Until I asked a question to which the teacher replied, but then he asked me – how would I answer this? And whether I wanted it or not I found my mind asking myself the same question and the answer I gave hit home for me – Thank you, for helping me experience the power of questions.

And me being me – I have started reading books on questions. One of the books I am listening to now is “Great Leaders Ask Great Questions” by John Maxwell. I have not completed the book yet, but there were some quotes in it which just grabbed me.

Take every opportunity to keep my mouth shut
I love this statement, and I am going to do more of this – and this is very hard for me. Because I think I am unique and I have interesting things to say, and I know it all. Now I still believe that I am special, and I have interesting things to say, but I am beginning to realize that I may not know it all. And if I have to know it all, I have to ask questions and listen. And the rare times I have tried it, I have realized that those moments are stress-free and relaxed because all I am doing is listening and Voila! I still get what I am looking for with minimal effort. But, a lot of effort needs to go into keeping my mouth shut. Ironic!

All things alike – people do business with people whom they like
Even if all things are not like people still do business with people who they like

It goes back to the saying that people forget what you said, but they always remember how you made them feel. I am new to this listening and asking questions stuff. I understand innately that this is what is needed for the next phase of my life – it doesn’t mean that I become this silent, secretive type but it means I master it well enough so that I can use it as a tool in my arsenal and use it at will as needed. And everything needs time when the student is ready the teacher appears.

After all – how hard can it be? All I have to do is to ask the question back and keep quiet, right?

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