‘What is a ‘Spinach helpful tip’? – When a friend tells you what you don’t know – especially when you don’t know it!
Socratic Questioning as part of your day to day for Sales & Marketing Leaders
In this our fourth installment we’ll continue to explore Socratic Questioning methods you should utilize for Questioning Information, Data, and Experience: For anyone to understand what thought/proposition being communicated to them, they need to fully understand and accept that thoughts presuppose an information base.
Ergo, whatever is being communicated to you is limited by the information base upon which is was developed. To make a better decision, you need to understand the actors, so it’s important to assume you do not fully understand the thought/proposition until you understand the background information (facts, data, and experiences) that supports or informs the thought or proposition being put forward.
Questions that focus on information, data and experience include:
- On what information are you basing that comment?
- What experience convinced you of this?
- Could your experience be distorted?
- How do you know this information is accurate?
- How could you verify it?
- Have you failed to consider any information or data you need to consider?
- What are these data based on?
- How were they developed?
- Is your conclusion based on hard facts or soft data?
Whatever is being communicated to you is limited by the information base upon which is was developed.
Questioning Information, Data and Experience: Everyday as Sales and Marketing Leaders you’re presented with projects, reports, proposals which require your CIA – consideration, input or approval. Your pummeled with information and data and by applying Socratic questioning to learn the who, what, where and how a position was arrived – where the data came from and was it the right data – so you can fully develop your thoughts and shape whatever your CIA response needs to be.
First respond, ‘where’d you get that?’, allowing whoever is communicating to share how they arrived at their decision so you know before you finalize your thoughts. This is not a call for ‘analysis paralysis’ or to become a weak ‘kick the can’ leader who never accomplishes anything but frustrating those around them and missing out on opportunities. The old adage, ‘you have two (2) ears, and one (1) mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk!‘, following Socrates’ advice here, before you respond, question the information, data and experience the thought/proposal is based upon. Now you move along the pathway with confidence that you understand the basis this thought/proposal was formulated upon thereby validating your action so you can move forward confidently!
Questions that help you understand on questions to better understand what information, data or experience a person or group used to arrive at their thought/proposition include:
- What would be an alternative?
- What is another way to look at it?
- Would you explain why it is necessary or beneficial, and who benefits?
- Why is the best?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of…?
So let’s understand what is the desired decision/outcome the champion hopes to achieve and how are they going to align with the desired WIIFM or What’s In It For Me for the consumer whether they are B2B or B2C. Question the question before finalizing your thought and don’t assume you fully understand someone’s question thought until you understand the drivers behind it.
Time to tell them about the Spinach in their teeth right now.
What is a ‘Spinach helpful tip’? Have you ever walked around with something in your teeth, and no one tells you. A real friend takes you to the side and tells you. It may be embarrassing at first but not as bad as finding out at the end of the day when it’s too late to do anything about it. Especially if you are trying to create a positive brand image and lead your organization to success!
Chris A. Marshall
For more information please feel free to review these additional Spinach Helpful Tips