Would You Tell Me a Secret?

The truth is, you already have.

Don’t worry, I have one for you too and it’s related to what you’ve shared with me.

The secret you’ve shared has to do with the subject line of this week’s intersection. You see, at C.Fox, the contributing writers to the intersection have a friendly—more or less—on-going competition. In addition to the intersection’s main goal of sharing useful communications insights and perspectives, we like to see which writer achieves the best intersection “open-rate.” And as most of you know, open rate has a lot to do with the quality of the subject line in a communication like the intersection. So simply by opening or not opening this week’s edition, you’ve helped me become a better writer, and I thank you for that. (And don’t worry, in a future post, I’ll be sure to let you know if I achieved any short-term bragging rights with this one.) But the secret I want to share with you is about questions.

The secret is…you need to ask them.

Not all at once. Not all the time. Not at random. But you need to ask questions of yourself and of others you hold in high regard, because the answers can make you a smarter, better communicator.

There are of course pieces of information we’re expected to know in each of our fields. Look no further than presidential candidate Gary Johnson for evidence of that. But there is really no replacing the value of asking good, well-structured questions with purpose. Those types of questions are a key way that we challenge each other at C.Fox to provide the best guidance to clients and develop the best creative concepts. Knowing what to ask, and when to ask it, are vital considerations in the focus groups and in-depth interviews that we moderate. When we ask smart questions, we get smart answers and they lead us to be even better communicators.

So give it a try. Before your next Board meeting or staff retreat, think about the questions you need answered before and during those sessions. Then, ask them and listen closely to the answers. You’ll be better prepared for important engagements and respected by your peers and staff for taking the time. And you’ll have compiled a wealth of new wisdom in the process.