Have you ever asked a question just because it was expected? Maybe you were interviewing for a job, and you sensed that you needed to have something to offer when the hiring manager asked, “Do you have any questions?” Or, maybe you were in a meeting, and you thought you should say something, anything, in order to indicate that you were paying attention (when you probably weren’t).
These are just two professional situations in which we ask questions that aren’t productive. Leaders do it too, shutting down conversation instead of stimulating discussion. In this week’s roundup, we look at expert advice on asking questions that get thoughtful answers—plus, how to turn that negative performance review into opportunity, and how to find time to job search.
“What separates great questions from poor or boring ones?” asks Torrence. “I write discussion guides as part of my job – I love thinking through what makes or breaks a question. And so, as I think through potential questions to ask my team at work or even for a discussion with my spouse or another friend, I run them through these seven filters. In a sense, these are questions for my questions.”
If you’ve ever asked a question, only to watch conversation die, you’ll recognize the value of the first filter: “Can this question be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”
Dorie Clark at National Center for the Middle Market: How to Turn a Negative Employee Review Into Positive Growth
If you’re like most of us, your goal when receiving a bad review is to survive the interaction with your dignity intact. If you walk out of the room without behaving unprofessionally, you count it as a win.
That’s understandable. There are people out there in the world who enjoy things many of us don’t—giving presentations, for example, or networking with strangers—but absolutely no one likes getting a bad review.
In this piece, Clark interviews Monique Valcour, a management professor at the EDHEC Business School in France, to get her advice on how to turn that negative experience into a positive one. It’s not as strange as it sounds. There’s an upside to a bad review:
“A glowing testament offers no avenues for development. While it feels good to be lauded, people who value growth and development prefer to have some guidance about how they can improve,” says Valcour.
Find tips on how use this opportunity, at Clark’s post.
Neil Patrick at 40pluscareerguru: Priorities and Time Management for an Effective Job Search
“Everything in life costs time or money or both,” writes Patrick. “Everyone who is a true star at something has a talent for sure, but also dedicates themselves to it. The idea we can have everything sets us up to fail from the start. But we persist in the belief that we can always have more, we just have to find a bit more time to get it. So one thing that everyone seems to want more of is time. Including jobseekers.”
Since you can’t get more time—not really—you need to make the most of the time you have. Patrick’s tips can help you figure out how to do that by focusing on the job search tasks that really help (for example, optimizing your LinkedIn profile) and de-prioritizing those that don’t (scanning job search boards, for the most part).
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