Before Breakfast - Invite stories, not explanations

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Welcome to before breakfast a production of iHeartRadio.

Good morning. This is Laura. Welcome to the before breakfast podcast. Today's tip is to invite stories not explanations a good way to do that is to avoid asking questions that start with the Troublesome word. Why?

A few weeks ago on this podcast. I suggested beginning negotiations by saying tell me your perspective this tip came from Alexandra Carter's book, ask for more by inviting your conversation partner to tell you their perspective you learn about their understanding of the situation and their hopes and any frustrations, so you're better able to find a solution. You can both agree on avoiding why questions has some similar benefits and for conversations of All Sorts not as formal negotiations a question that begins with the word y tends to bring up an answer that begins with because and often continues with a defensive tone.

Why questions can put people on guard and they often elicit responses that are justifications rather than more helpful narratives.

Better to aim to invite stories and Reflections instead. We'll learn more that way and will create a better tone for moving forward together.

For example consider this question that one might ask a teenager. Why didn't you tell me you were failing math? It is really hard to picture a useful response that will come from that question more likely you'll get sputtering and an answer like you're impossible to talk to or it's not like you care anyway, or I had no idea. I was failing or something like that. None of these solve the problem of your kids math trouble.

Turn white a story. You might instead say tell me more about what math has been like this semester. This can encourage the child to identify what's been challenging. So the two of you can come up with Solutions together.

Likewise instead of asking your direct report. Why can't you meet the deadline which is unlikely to get a helpful answer try suggesting. Let's talk through your current priorities and timelines even in positive context why questions tend to elicit formulaic answers when we would prefer more meaningful responses. So instead of asking a job candidate, why do you think this job is right for you? You could try I'd love to hear about What attracted you to this position that invitation is much more likely to bring out your candidates experiences and mindsets and priorities so you can get to know the person better.

In general you want phrases like tell me more. Let's talk through this. Can you say more about that and Carter's favorite tell me your perspective. I'd encourage you to find a few pocket phrases like these that work for you use them frequently.

And if that doesn't work, maybe turn the why question you usually ask into a how or what question to pave the way for a non defensive response. For example, why did you back the car into the side of the garage can become what was happening? When you hit the side of the garage this brings up the useful matter of cleaning up clutter or dealing with blind spots in general when we want to understand the situation better. We want to invite the other people involved open up and share their experiences and ideas without getting defensive why questions tend not to do that. So we need to find alternatives.

In the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening. And here's to making the most of our time.

Hey everybody. I'd love to hear from you. You can send me your tips your questions or anything else. Just connect with me on Twitter Facebook and Instagram at before breakfast pod. That's be the number for then breakfast pod. You can also shoot me an email at before breakfast podcast at that before breakfast is spelled out with all the letters. Thanks so much. I look forward to staying in touch.

Before breakfast is a production of iHeartRadio from war podcast from iHeartRadio visit the iHeartRadio app Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
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