Monday, April 20, 2009

When to pop the question?

You’d be unlikely to ask your girlfriend to marry you while she was sitting on the toilet (I hope!) You’d also feel uneasy if your taxi driver asked you to fill out a survey on his driving skills as soon as you hopped inside his taxi. And I’m sure you’d be reticent about asking for a pay rise in the middle of a disciplinary discussion about your extreme use of facebook on work time.

Sometimes when you ask is just as important as what you’re asking.

I was reminded of this recently at a speaking job. I make it a priority to get feedback after my talks but in my eagerness to promptly ask the organiser if he was happy with my performance… I did so while we were both still on stage in front of 500 people (thankfully my microphone was off).

I think, on that day, something in my subconscious needed some positive reinforcement so I asked the question at a time when the organiser couldn’t possibly give me bad feedback. For one, he had about 5 seconds to answer and secondly who’s going to say they weren’t happy while the speaker is still on stage!! It was a silly time to ask, and it made his response meaningless, but it was a good lesson for me to learn because I know it’s not the first time I’ve eagerly done this.

When I followed up via email later on and asked the question again (at the far more appropriate time) I got exactly the kind of valuable feedback the question (at that time) deserved.

What’s an important question looming in your future and when is the most appropriate time to ask it?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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