Ten Questions to Improve Engagement

Key point: Questions engage the brain more than statements. When we hear a question, our minds automatically engage to find an answer or a solution. These are ten questions that will show, and generate, engagement:

  1. How can I help you right now? Offering assistance sends a clear message that you are engaged in a way that compels you to give of yourself. That is a message that people will recognize immediately.
  2. What else do you need from me for this project? When you show a willingness to do more than is required, your level of engagement is clear to those above you and sets an example for those around you.
  3. Who can I introduce you to help make this happen? There’s a reason so many people visit social networking sites: We seek ways to extend our capabilities by connecting with others who have similar interests. When you become the conduit to new people and new ideas, you provide a service to all and become known as a person of influence.
  4. When can we get together to discuss our progress? Managers constantly juggle events, people, deadlines, and problems, all the time needing to understand one thing: “How are we doing?” The person who initiates that conversation sets the stage for a good discussion.
  5. What can we do to make this a little better? You don’t have to focus on doing more in order to be engaged. Showing interest in improved quality, improved processes, improved relationships – each of these helps bump up the game for all concerned.
  6. How am I doing based on our agreement and your expectations? Managers get paid to manage performance and obtain results. When you make the first move to start the conversation, you show a high level of engagement and a concern for outcomes. This also makes the performance discussion more relaxed since you’ve indicated that you’re open to the discussion and feedback.
  7. Who else can we include? This is related to #3. Inclusion does two things: adds important resources and engages others in your project.
  8. What other information can I provide? Decisions, progress reports, changing direction all require up-to-date information to be done effectively. Timely information and updates will help others stay engaged. In a knowledge economy, information is the currency. Be the banker.
  9. How can I best support the others in the group? This is one of the most engaging questions – and interventions – in the workplace. When people meet face-to-face or on a call and one person asks, “How can I support each of you?” that single gesture engages others in a way that prompts each to think more deeply about the project and the connectedness of the people involved.
  10. What else would be helpful to discuss? This final question – followed by silence – allows the other person to address anything they may have avoided mentioning until now. Of course, there may be nothing. If there is, though, and the issue had not been discussed previously for whatever reason, you opened the door to explore something that might have hindered engagement and commitment.