Shari Storm: Lately, I've been trying to teach my daughters the art of asking questions and listening to answers. I'm a born talker and I constantly work on not being the loud mouth in any conversation.
On Veterans Day, I took my three kids to a store and there were men raising money for the VA hospital at the entrance. My heart filled with pride as my 6-year-old stopped and asked the elderly man what kind of veteran he was. As he bent down and told her he had been in the Coast Guard, I knew she was learning a great lesson. He was beaming with pride to tell a little red headed girl about his war experience and she felt the impact she was having on him.
Later that night, we called my grandfather, who had been on the USS Kingfisher in WWII. She asked him what it was like and he told her. Again, it was clear that she was making him very happy by listening to him. When he was done, I handed the phone to my four-year-old, and asked her, "Do you have any questions to ask Great Grandpa?" She thought for a moment and then took a deep breath and said, "Grandpa, where are you sitting in your house?"
He told her he was actually sitting in the dining room, eating soup. She paused with concentration and then asked, "Grandpa, what kind of soup are you eating?"
He chuckled and told her and I again beamed with pride. THAT was the lesson I am trying to teach.
Asking questions in the office does a lot of things. 1. It increases your understanding of everything around you. 2. It positions you as a more engaged team player. 3. It builds relationships with others.
Whether you are asking someone to share their stories of the war or asking them what kind of soup they are eating, it is flattering to be asked.
|Shari Storm is the author of "Motherhood is the New MBA: Using Your Parenting Skills to be a Better Boss" (Thomas Dunne / St. Martins Press). Storm earned her Masters of Business Administration from Seattle University. In addition to being an executive at a $400 million financial institution, Storm is a mentor for Seattle University's graduate program and writes for Working Mother Magazine blog. Storm has three young daughters.|