Let’s face it, entrepreneurs don’t exactly have a reputation for diplomacy. In the rush to market and success, they often come across as blunt when a well-chosen word or phrase might make the same point and do more to motivate employees.
So how might the head of a hard-charging startup communicate better? In the book “Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others,” Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas offer ways to turn negative statements and questions into positive ones.
For example, instead of asking “Is this the best you can do?” or what went wrong, the authors suggest a better way to ask the question would be “How can we do even better?”
Another example: focus on finding out what steps led to an undesired outcome, not on the outcome itself, or focus on what the desired outcome was and what might have been done to achieve it. Avoid finger-pointing and look for opportunities to improve.
And in communication with potential customers, give them specific examples of similar companies you’ve helped, not vague statements.
Adapted from Be a Winner by Asking Power Questions at Baseline Magazine.