Making Organizations Awesome

Leadership lessons from a motivational listener

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Are good questions the new caffeine?

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What’s your goal when you speak to people?

What impression do you want to generate?

What feeling or action do you want to inspire?

Engagement is my number one goal when I’m presenting or leading a meeting. I’ve nailed it maybe two or three times in the last two years. Every time that I had total audience engagement, I started with a question or a request for them to do something.

“Why do presentations suck?” is what I asked a group of young bankers who wanted to make better presos.

“Why are you spending next week helping a Brazilian non-profit?” is how I opened an international leadership training in Sao Paulo.

“Get out a pen and a paper please. You’re going to want to write down every single thing that I say, because this is going to be the most riveting session ever.” That was my humble opening for a session on Learning to Learn. (Ninja secret: the most valuable thing that I’ve ever learned was learning how to learn. And I don’t mean learning about a topic, but learning the roadmap for developing any new skill.)

Do you have a presentation, conference call, or team meeting coming up? Chances are your audience is ready to tune out, be bored, and multitask. Wake them up. Give them a caffeinating question to kick it off.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Micah Solomon

    Great post! Audiences are often made of people who are used to action, and offering a good question to ask is a great place to start their involvement.
    As an aside, remember what Einstein’s mother (apocryphally, I have no doubt) asked him every morning when he came home from school: “Did you ask any good questions?”

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