Quiet Leaders listen, consider, reflect. That doesn’t mean they’re not engaged. As Stephen Hawking said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
Toward the end of a webinar, the leader asked “What questions do you have?” to the group of more than 100 participants. Crickets. She allowed silence to reign for a bit, then asked again, “What questions do you have?” Silence. Finally someone asked a question. She answered fully. Then asked again, “What questions do you have?” Silence. This went on for about ten minutes, with a couple of questions asked and submitted in the chat.
Toward the end of the hour, someone entered into the chat that he appreciated the content the leader provided. His silence was not an indicator of her failure to express it clearly, he was thinking. When she read that aloud, she chuckled with relief and thanked him for that feedback. We all want to be thorough, but repeating the same question does not necessarily get the information we want. If she had asked different questions, she may have learned more of what her listeners were thinking.
Here are a few questions that may have generated more response:
-What is one of your top takeaways from what you heard?
– What can you do to move forward with what you heard / learned?
– If nothing stood in your way, what would you do to be successful with this?
I can think of many more, but you get the picture. Asking questions in different ways can open people up. You also could ask everyone to jot a few questions and potential actions before asking for feedback. This gives the internal processors time to think.
We all fall into habits that feel right but don’t always serve us well. What questions do you typically ask? What other questions could you ask that might be more fruitful?
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Want to expand your thinking as a leader? I have a Mastermind for Quiet Leaders starting in April. Contact me if you’d like to talk about joining this or a future Mastermind.