Conversion On The Road To "Damn! Ask Us!"
Commuting back and forth between Des Moines and Kansas City presents unique opportunities to observe the locals in rural settings. Recently, at a Missouri gas station, I heard an agitated customer voicing that she was unable to find a specific item. The clerk's response, as he pulled the item out from behind the counter, amused me, "Damn! Ask us! We always keep them back here."
Damn. Ask us.
It's amazing how infrequently we ask questions to get what we want. We'll tell people what we want (and then listen only for what we want to hear). We'll make assumptions that the response will be negative so we don't ask at all. We predestine that nobody would want to hear us anyway. So we don't ask. And we don't get.
Former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, "We see the world, not as it is, but as we are." If we see the world as ripe with possibilities, then every question will yield a positive response (even if the response may not lead to the result for which we were hoping). Jesus once said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7, NIV) When the Apostle Paul (then Saul of Tarsus) experienced his world-rocking conversion on the road to Damascus (ah...now you get the title pun), the conversation started out with questions... from both parties.
Right now, I'm trying to promote a new book. I'm doing a lot of knocking, seeking, and asking. Sometimes the responses are favorable. Sometimes the door gets slammed back in my face. Occasionally, there's no answer at all. But it doesn't mean I've quit promoting. I learned a lot about self-marketing since Race Through The Forest was released last year. I can't rely on Amazon or my Publisher to do the work for me. GUST is my product, and I'm the primary salesperson. I believe that people want to manage their office politics challenges more effectively, and I want to help them do it.
I've come to the conclusion that the question is the most powerful yet under-used communication tool we have. There's a statistic that project managers should spend 90% of their time in communication. I'm curious how much of that time is spent telling vs. asking. My most popular and requested speaking engagement is titled "What Your Project Team Isn't Telling You" and equips the audience to ask better questions of their project stakeholders. A lot of the office politics issues that I resolve on the Office-Politics site could be averted by some proactive questions.
What do you want? Is it a promotion? A new job? Information? A date? Some time? Are you asking for it? How are you framing your questions in such a way to set yourself up for success?