Hi! Did you think I had forgotten you? No, don’t worry! It’s just that the gray weather kind of slowed down my inspiration…
How does the end of the year look like for you? I hope the black Friday and Cyber week were not too traumatising for you! Watch out because Christmas shopping (incl. Boxing Day) is coming soon…
« W » is the letter of the month. We are coming to the end of the alphabet where the number of words is getting smaller… I chose the W-questions (or the WH-questions) or the open questions! Who, what, why, when, where, whose, which etc…. and I will even include « how ». Even if it doesn’t start with « wh », it appears to come from the same root as the other wh-words.
In old English, these words would start with « hw ». At some point, they switched the two letters but for some reasons there would have been two « who »s so one of them turned into « how ». That’s an explanation that I found on the internet. (The German language stayed very consistent because all these questions start with « w » without exception).
These open questions allow you to get deeper in a conversation and to obtain more information, as long as the person you speak with is open to answer them. If it’s not the case, you’ll have to turn to the closed questions (with « yes » or « no » as answers), which can turn into an annoying and tough job.
I recently read an article about the 7 journalistic questions that an author needs to be able to answer before her/his article is being published:
7. Where from
And the last one seems to be forgotten many times. Now, you may be thinking « why do you write this, Caroline, I’m not an author! ». Well, you may be an author of reports at work… and you surely are a recipient of a ton of information everyday! Articles on social media, magazines, newspapers, reports of all kinds, gossips at work… do you believe everything? The « where from » question from that list will help you to sort out facts from fiction. When you know the source of an information, you are able to rank it. We’re all aware that some sources are more trustworthy than others…
In my last corporate job as department head, I was clear with my team that I wasn’t interested in gossips… I didn’t want to hear, « I’ve heard that XYZ… ». Instead I wanted to hear « I’ve heard that XYZ… and I asked one of the involved persons about it… ». Then, it was not a gossip anymore, it was a more reliable story. And it helped my productivity as the « source checking » had been done for me. Try it!
I invite you to be aware of these open questions in the next days: how good are you at asking them? And then at finding out what you wanted to know? How good are you at discerning which information is good for you and which one is not? That may be a tricky one… If you have examples of how you sort the good information out of the wave of information you receive or see everyday, I’d be glad if you share them with me.
Keep on with the good work with your leadership and communication!
P.S.: In case you didn’t know, I grew up in a French-speaking environment in Canada and we also had a few TV channels in English. As a very young kid, I loved watching Sesame Street which was in English only. I quickly learned the alphabet… in English. When I started school, oups, I had to learn to pronounce the letters in French! And I struggled for almost a year when it came to the letter « W » because I preferred to say « double U » instead of « double V » (which I believe is more logical because or the two « V »s in the character itself).