Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Two Good Discussion Tools

Discussion.jpg A couple of years ago, one of my mentors taught me a couple of good “tools” to faciliate good discussion.  Today, I was telling someone about them and I thought they were worth sharing.  I have used these on countless occasions and they have served me well.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.

The Magic Wand question

This question is simple, yet powerful: 

“If you could wave a magic wand, what would I be doing for you?” or

“If you could wave a magic wand, what would I be doing differently?”

The nature of this question makes it ideal for uncovering requirements, unlocking expectations, and determining someone’s ideal situation.  I think the notion of a magic wand gets people to think a bit more boldly, since they don’t necessarily have to think about practical constraints.

“An argument could be made…”

When you’re dealing with a touchy subject it can sometimes be difficult to have an objective discussion.  Rather than saying things like, “I think you should…” or “Here’s what I would do…” try reframing the statement by beginning with:  “An argument could be made…”

This subtle shift can make the question feel less personal, and you are more likely to have an objective discussion about the topic.  For example:  compare the following statements:

“An argument could be made to scrap this project completely – what are the implications of that?”
“I think we should kill the project.”

Which approach is more likely to drive a productive discussion?