Why Are Asking Questions So Difficult?

19 Jun

We live in a rapidly changing world. Every day we read about some technological or medical breakthrough that only 20 years ago was considered science fiction. Mention 78, 45 or 33 1/3 and half your audience will stare at you blankly as if you spoke to them in some alien language. But mention the word networking and everyone will immediately know, (or think they know), what you’re talking about.

“Sure I network,” comes the response from a large percentage of respondents when asked, Do you network?  “I’m a master networker. I have over 1500 1st connections on LinkedIn and so many friends on Facebook that I stopped counting.” But when asked again, do you network; they’ll give you a look, which if verbalized, would say DUH?

Now I’m on LinkedIn and on Facebook and am not so old that I don’t communicate with my grandchildren on these platforms. But when I mention networking it’s the old fashion kind. You know the kind; where you’re participating in a chamber event, or a meeting of an association you belong to, or a Kiwanis or Rotary program. A live event with live people, who if you met a number of them, and they liked you, might, at some future time, provide you with an introduction or referral to your ideal prospect. Or, if you’re not a business owner or salesperson, someone who may open some doors for you to help further your career.

As you know, I am an expert on fear, and there is nothing more frightening then to walk into a room full of people, most of whom you don’t know, and walk-up to someone and introduce yourself. I think, given a choice, most people would opt for a colonoscopy live on national television with Katie Couric. But why? Why is it so difficult to introduce ourselves to another human being and carry on a simple conversation? Fear of course. But why do we feel this intense fear?

The fears we feel in walking up to a stranger and introducing ourselves stem from childhood. We fear rejection. We believe they won’t want to talk to us because we’re bothering them. They won’t like us because we believe were not interesting or worthy of their time. Or we fear not knowing what to say after we say hello. Now where did this garbage come from?

Well, like most fears they were given to us by mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, teachers, friends, and anyone that has ever made a negative comment to us. We never learned to ask questions, but instead were taught to answer them. And then, only when asked. We heard things like: Don’t ask so many questions. Speak only when spoken to. That’s a stupid question. That’s an important person, and they don’t want to hear from you. You should be seen, but not heard. You have nothing interesting to say. Stop stuttering and get it out. Cat got your tongue?

It’s hard to believe, but the negative things we were told about ourselves as children, and we accepted as the truth, would continue to hinder us 10, 20, 30 years later. It doesn’t make sense.

In my next blog I’ll teach you how to carry on a conversation with anyone, just by learning how to ask questions.

With Love,

Michael

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