Question Your Own Authority
Research has shown that the best way to stick to a plan is to be self-interrogative rather than self-affirming. In other words, new year’s resolutions don’t really work by themselves unless you examine your resolve. You need to question what you are doing and be willing to study your own behavior. I find it interesting to learn that one of my favorite blogs, Lifehacker, has a post focused on using the Socratic Method when you are in an argument with someone; you can diffuse the heat of the argument by asking questions rather than giving answers (or excuses!) This one is not exactly science but makes a lot of sense nonetheless.
Is it a surprise that the best plans and conversations take thoughtful consideration? This is called “inquiry,” and it is a terrific tool to bring to interpersonal communication because it increases understanding and opens doors to innovation.
Here are three more ways that inquiry can help you improve your communication:
- Some people get nervous about meeting new people. Remember that everyone’s favorite topic is talking about himself or herself. Be the one to ask questions about the other one and you will be their new best friend.
- The next time you don’t understand someone’s actions, don’t assume anything. Inquire.
- When you need someone else to learn something, use inquiry to guide them to an answer. (Think, “What would Socrates do?”) You might learn something, too!
For more on this topic, please see my post “3 Essential Ingredients of Meaningful Conversations.”
Please visit RightQuestion.org to learn about an organization that is using inquiry to improve education.
And here’s an organization that is using inquiry to change the way we talk to each other: The Center for Appreciative Inquiry.