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Communicating With Remote Teams: Ask focused questions

"How are you?" 

In "normal" times it's the appropriate thing to say when starting a conversation and part of the script we follow by default. 

These days, that question is asked with sincerity and best intentions, but I'm willing to wager the answers fall short of expectations. 

If you really want people to open up, share their story and reveal personal details you have to ask a more focused question. 

"How are you?" is the equivalent of me, a sports broadcaster, striking up a conversation with a player by saying, "Tell me about the game." I fully expect the athlete to look at me, shrug and then say, "What part of the game do you want me to tell you about? The beginning, the middle, the end, the role I played, the effort of my teammates, the adjustments we made because of the opponent?"

(If he or she doesn't do that, they're being far too polite, because that is a terribly unprepared way for a reporter to start a conversation with an athlete.)

Open-ended questions or statements do not lead to the most engagement or best conversations.

Why? 

Because people are afraid of giving the wrong answer, even when there is no "right" or "wrong."

Ask a more focused (i.e. better) question and you'll get a better response. The video explains more and gives examples. 

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