ask better questions,
and as a result,
they get better answers."
— Tony Robbins
This is a great quote and I would take it one step farther and say, they also get better results.
Here’s a bit of advice that I learned essentially from Tony Robbins in an around about way and it has to do with greater relationship harmony over time. How one person in the relationship asks the other a question is telling in the feeling and the results too. These questions often contain unspoken and predetermined expectations of the correct, or desired answer, and when not answered as expected or desired, can be quite dissatisfying.
Let’s take an example of say, a spouse wanting to go to an event of some kind. A common question would be, “do you want to go to the __________ (or want to go do…)? Now, here’s a clue: the questioner has no idea what mayhem is going on inside the other person’s head right now and so there is a definite expectation by the asker to get a positive answer, and then they will feel good. But, if there is a negative answer or wishy-washy answer, a list of reasons or excuses which may often be the case, those questioner expectations are dead on arrival. Next may or may not be the dance around the fire calling on the positive expectation gods hearing something like, “why not?" and other hopelessly defensive maneuvers all ending in lousy feelings and missed expectations. The respondent may realize they are in dangerous territory here and suddenly let go of their wishy-washy reasons and excuses and try to back up, regroup, and start over with an answer that may satisfy and all of them to escape the minefield they have co-created.
Questions to another expecting them to agree with our unspoken desires is always a challenge. Yet, if we learn, as I have, and yet am very much a practicing work in progress–if we learn to ask these kinds of questions in a way that calls for a much more beneficial response, it might go like this: “I want to go to the __________ on Thursday at 8 pm. I would love for you to go with me. Will you come?" It could also be more demonstrative and yet generous by saying, “I have decided to (or I am going to) go the _____________on Thursday at 8 pm. I love this event and would love it if you would come with me."
The difference between the questions in the first of the two previous paragraphs and the second is similar and yet so far apart as to be on different planets. The first may and often does create issues, roadblocks, defensive behavior, and more. The second has an entirely different feeling and a far better result. It creates agreement, participation, good feelings, let alone the idea that the respondent is honored and allowed to make a decision in a much more fluid way.
Just imagine all the ways you have been asking the other, how that feels, and what kind of results are attained. Now try changing your method if you like and watch the difference. I predict you will be amazed.