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The Magic Unquestion

When I was growing up there was a TV commercial for 7Up that branded the soft drink as the "uncola". It was defined by what it was not.

It was an interesting experiment directed at getting people to change a habit to a new solution based on their old solution. Instead of drinking Coke, drink 7Up.

I never became a 7Up drinker (Mountain Dew was more my style) but I have borrowed the phrase slightly in something that I call the magic unquestion. It's an unquestion because it's not really a question, although it acts like one. And you can substitute it in situations where you might be looking for another question but can't think of one. Here is the magic unquestion:

Tell me more about that.

It's not a question, but it keeps the other person talking. It uncovers more information. It stays nonjudgmental and does the work of a question. It changes my habit from closing the inquiry to keeping it open. Tell me more about that.

When you need to talk about it, listening is a great way to keep the conversation going. When people seem to be at a stop point, there's usually much, much more under the surface. Saying "Tell me more about that" is a useful way to keep the talking alive.

It's magic because it works. It's magic because it's easy. Try it. I think you'll like it, no matter what beverage you prefer.

Tell me more about that.


-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training




What have you learned today?

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