What does it mean to connect?

In computer terms, a “connection” occurs when we are joined with others through a communication link.

To connect with your customers and colleagues is to join with them in a shared experience. It involves sharing ideas and information by coming together with them. When we feel rapport with someone, a sense of trust and affinity begins to develop. There is a sense of two-way interchange based on common interests.

When we connect things, we bind them together. When we connect with another we also bind them to us. If we really connect with them they want to see and hear from us again — the starting point of a relationship.

Why ask questions?

Questions demonstrate your willingness to let go of narcissistic monologue and involve another in participatory dialogue. You interrupt your own closed-loop mental process and bring in diversity of viewpoint.

Asking questions is a subtle tool of persuasion. By simply asking a question, you can often make your point more powerfully than by hammering home assertion after assertion. The listener opens to your ideas as they articulate answers to your questions.

Find out whether you’ve missed the mark before it’s too late to rectify. Questions check another's understanding and retention, allowing you to more effectively communicate.

Would you like to demonstrate that you are interested in those with whom you interact? Ask questions, listen carefully to the answers, and consider follow-up questions to create a dialogue.

Overview Strategy for Asking Questions

Start with open-ended questions. This technique builds rapport, a key objective early in a dialogue.

As you move toward resolution, use specifically directed, closed-end questions. They are key in checking for comprehension and retention as well as narrowing options to a conclusion.

Practice ways in which to treat customers and colleagues so that they will trust us, feel rapport with us and perhaps even want to hear more about our ideas or products.

Author's Bio: 

Terry Gault is a coach, trainer, and consultant in presentation and communications skills. He has worked with clients such as Oracle, GE, Wells Fargo, Visa, EMC, eBay, etc. In addition, Terry oversees all curriculum, services and selection, training and development of all trainers and facilitators for The Henderson Group. He also had a 20 year career in the theater working as an actor, teacher, director, writer and producer. In addition, Terry worked in sales and management in the building industry for over 10 years. Visit www.hendersongroup.com/art_pres_info.asp for more information.