Before You Answer, Ask

by · December 31, 20131 comment

When people are aggravated or even upset, the natural reaction is to verbalize what they would do differently or what they think should be done to fix whatever the problem is. “Why can’t you just deliver my package?!” “I would have thought about the holiday rush ahead of time and hired more people!”

Not that these particular quotes have come up in conversation recently or anything. Heh.

What I find fascinating about these moments when people interject their solution to whatever problem you face is that knee jerks are always uninformed. But it works for us as well as customers. When we say, “Well, I would do X,” or “Why didn’t you do Y,” we’re just as uniformed as the frustrated customer.

knee jerks are always uninformed

The solution to curbing this behavior in ourselves is to simply ask instead of answer.

“What planning did you do?”

“How is the problem being addressed?”

“How many people are affected by the problem?”

By holding ourselves to the higher standard of knowing before we solve, the solutions become stronger and the resolutions more quickly found.

And if any of you know how to train the general public to do that, too, give me a call. Heh.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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