Top 10 Powerful Questions to Ask

The poet e.e. cummings wrote: “Always the beautiful answer, who asks a more beautiful question.” Indeed, solid strategic plans, strong work relationships, high morale and improved performance are all byproducts of good questions. This potent communication tool can help you discover important information about your work, yourself, your associates, your customers—and create insights that otherwise might have remained hidden.

Asking questions without leading, prompting or interrupting shows that you’re really listening. It encourages us to suspend assumptions, which helps prevent miscommunication, unrealistic expectations, stress, damaged relationships and unfulfilled responsibilities. Below are just a few questions that can have powerful effects on your work and life. Just be sure to LISTEN to the answers.

1. What is it that you’d like to see accomplished and how do you see it happening?

2. What are your thoughts? Your concerns?

3. What self-limiting fears, thoughts or actions do I want to leave behind?

4. What’s the most important priority to you with this and why?

5. What would you like to see improved?

6. Can you help me understand that a little better? 7. What’s in the way of improved performance? How can I change that?

8. If I could change one thing in my life/business that would have the greatest impact, what would it be?

9. What prevents me from being able to place more focus on this?

10. Are my actions today compatible with what I wish to leave behind as a legacy?

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

10 Best Email Habits

Utilize these efficient tactics to increase your productivity.

Improving your email habits can drastically increase your productivity. Like any new approach, these take focus and practice. But after awhile, they will become habits that support you.

1. Check email only at scheduled times for a specified amount of time. Twice a day for 30-60 minutes works well for many. Unplug until the next scheduled time.

2. Unsubscribe relentlessly. Make sure you receive only the things you really want to— and do—read.

3. Reduce the amount of routed email (i.e., cc’d from coworkers) to only that which is essential.

4. “Slash and burn” on your first pass through your inbox. Use the second pass for replies and other follow-up actions.

5. Empty your inbox every day and keep it that way. Delete most and file the rest.

6. Include all of your contact information in your signature—phone, fax, website—so that others don’t have to hunt for this information.

7. One topic, one subject. Change the subject line when conversation turns to another topic, and break up multiple topics into separate emails for easy filing and recall. 8. Count to five before clicking “Send.” Make sure your email is clear and represents what you really want to say to avoid a lot of back-and-forth later.

9. Include in your replies the original context of the email so you (and others) don’t have to hunt for it later.

10. Resist the temptation to check your email more than your scheduled times! It’s a simple step but has a profound effect on productivity.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications