The Business Building Power of Good Questions

One of my favorite all time quotes is that “Ideas have consequences.”  The same can be said of questions.  Asking the right question can change the course of careers, relationships, and companies.  Imagine if Henry Ford had asked, “How can we build a better horse drawn carriage?”

Companies spend millions on asking the right question.  E.g. sales training to educate reps on which questions to ask customers and in which order.  And almost all market research is aimed at posing the right questions to respondents.

But at live events and large meetings, when you’ve spent tremendous resources on assembling people…. are you asking good questions and getting critical feedback to propel your company forward?  After all, insights lie in the heads of your audience. The challenge is engaging attendees so they actively participate.

It’s so important that I built a company that solves this issue: Lively.   It’s a tool that increases ROI of in-person events and large meetings. (Speaking engagements, internal and external meetings, event sponsorships, trade shows, conferences etc).  Lively increases audience participation by 5X with fun and informative live polling, branded trivia games, audience responses turned into imagery, contests for participation and more.  Beyond that, it 1) provides reporting on the interests and challenges of specific attendees (with their names and social media profiles), 2) distributes content & generates leads and 3) provides high-impact branding.

Whether or not you use Lively, it can be inspiring to see the “institutional curiosity” of many successful organizations. E.g. being thoughtful in what questions are asked and how they are asked (internally and externally). Here are some general thoughts about strategically framing questions:

  1. Frame strategic choices by asking “should we?” rather than “can we?”
  2. Reveal untapped strategic opportunities by asking: “If we only had _____, we’d be much better off at achieving _____.”
  3. For initiatives in uncharted territory ask “How will we know when we’ve succeeded and how will we measure success?”
  4. Challenge pivotal assumptions with constructive skepticism: “What makes us believe that _____ will occur now when it hasn’t before?”

Questions have consequences and impact.  Ask away….