Elias and his questions. What is it with this guy? (See what I did there?) It’s no question that I LOVE QUESTIONS! My love for the power of questions started in high school. I was taking a communications class that required three different types of presentations to pass. My favorite of the three was the persuasive speech. No surprise there. Not content to go with a typical heavy topic like immigration (half the class had chosen that already), I opted for something that was relatively new on the horizon. I choose to argue in favor of genetic engineering in fruit, sighting the potential for bananas as a vehicle for delivering vaccines as my strongest argument.
X-Men Fruit Snacks aside, I credit one technique to my earning an “A” on the speech, and ultimately an “A” in the class. (We’ll discuss my algebra grades another time…) You guessed it. It was all about questions. A week prior to the speech I rehearsed a series of questions for my friends to ask during the Q & A after my presentation. In doing so, they helped establish my authority through a seemingly improvised situation. It was an unexpected side effect that truly created a memorable experience, however, having pre-rehearsed questions broke any tension, eased my anxiety, and helped the audience feel like I truly was an authority on the subject. This also created an environment of discussion and warmed me up to questions on the fly. Although the presentation was only supposed to last 20 minutes, the instructor allowed our discussion to continue through the following 25 minutes to the end of the class.
The closing comment on my evaluation sheet said “Thank you for showing your colleagues the power of public speaking.” Little did I know that 15 years ago that comment would steer me toward my true passion and career. Amazing what the power of questions can do.
So! With that in mind, I’ve put together three short lists of power questions for you to rehearse and use in three specific ways.
Establishing Authority – Use a marketing survey during your strategy session to point out how AWESOME you are without “bragging”:
1. Have you seen our feature on the BBC?
2. Have you read any of our monthly articles in Men’s/ Women’s Health Magazine? 3. Have you read any of our best selling books?
4. Have you seen us in the local newspaper or at community events?
Pre-framing, visualization and identifiers:
1. What, for you, would be the number one benefit of having a personalized program?
2. How many times a week do you see yourself coming into the gym?
3. What have you found to be the most important factor in choosing a gym?
4. If you could change something about your old gym, what would that be?
5. Who’s your biggest supporter at home?
6. I can see these goals mean something to you, it must be really important to start right away, huh?
7. What most excites you about training here?
Responding to a question with a deeper digging question.
1. Why is _______ important to you?
2. Is that your biggest concern?
3. What do you like about _______?
4. Have you worried about _______ a lot?
Bonus Tip: If you really want to master the art of asking questions think, ZAP-it! Zip it, Acknowledge it and Play it.
After you ask your question…ZIP IT! Really listen to what they are saying so your response is considerate, relevant and genuine. After they respond, acknowledge their response to confirm that you heard and understand what they are saying. “I understand how you feel.” And if you agree…“I feel the same way.” Or if you don’t agree…“I can appreciate how you feel” (Never fib that you do, it will always be spotted. This moment is about acknowledgement and doesn’t have to be congruence.) Finally, play your card. Link a positive response to you and the gym. “I’m glad to hear you say that, that’s exactly what we do here.” Link a negative response to a solution or relief. “A lot of our most successful members felt the same way (when they first joined a gym/at their old gym/ while looking for a gym, etc.) and here is the solution they found.”
Francis Bacon, a famous British philosopher during the 1600’s said, “Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” True then, true now. Now activate your inner 3-year-old and start asking questions!Facebook (Elias) Facebook (Results Fitness University)