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How useful are you being?

Apr 13, 2023


There’s a little question I love asking at about the halfway mark of a meeting or conversation where my goal is to be helpful.

Something to try...

The question goes like this: “What’s been most useful so far?” 

(Most valuable? Most helpful? Feel free to riff...)

... and 3 Reasons Why

  1. It's oh-so-easy to focus on our own message, but lose sight of what is actually helpful to the others in the conversation. Asking a question like this can be a great way to pause the action, and discover the ways in which the conversation is valuable to them. I am regularly (and pleasantly) surprised by the responses I get to this question.   
  2. On the flip side, it’s way too easy for people to cruise through meetings and conversations without reflecting on what is actually useful to them. Asking people a question like this gives them an opportunity to pause and do a bit of a 'usefulness stocktake’. More than that, it encourages them to share responsibility for finding the value.  
  3. There’s a real vulnerability in this question which helps to build trust and connection. Let's face it, asking “what’s been most useful so far?” invites the possibility that they will say “nothing!”. So be ready for that, keep your ego in check, and then be ready to ask the follow-up question: “What would be most useful for the remainder of our time together?”.

Speaking of which, if you're a regular reader of these "Something to try" emails... what's been most useful for you so far? 😉 




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