Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.
Let’s say your last meeting was a fizzer.

Most people just sat back in their chairs, not engaged. There were no original ideas. They looked at their cellphones regularly.

Want them more engaged next time?

Skillset’s trainers are always thinking how best to engage teams we work with. We’ve learnt that relevant, open questions draw out the most meaningful answers.

Imagine you're planning a family holiday. If you ask the family what they’d love to do, where they’d like to go, you get their ‘buy-in’. If you don’t, how interested will they be?

Dan Pink, Harvard academic and author of the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says there are three key drivers of motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. There’s a theme in his findings: 'It’s all about them'.

How well would these three questions encourage mastery, autonomy and purpose in your next meeting?

1. What has been the most exciting work experience for you this month and why?

2. Tell me what gives you purpose - and how you can leverage that for our business?

3. What more could you be doing that would benefit our organisation, and make your work more enjoyable for you in the process?

Risky to ask? They’re also where the fruit is.

If you’re running meetings, or coaching others, open questions are great because they elicit deeper answers. What would you like to achieve today? Where’s a good place to begin? How will you know when you’ve got where you want to be?

Probing questions can help us delve deeper into issues and experiences, to tap the juice where good answers flow. Examples include, Tell me more about that, and Can you describe what that could look like?

What other questions can you ask to engage your team?

About Dharan Longley

dharan longley blog

Dharan Longley is a Senior Trainer at Skillset.

Dharan is an international master trainer with post-graduate qualifications in adult education.

His assignments have included training police officers and university managers in the Middle East, as well as teachers and staff of large organisations in New Zealand.

Dharan's topics are 'effective meetings', 'problem-solving and decision-making', 'team development', 'training for trainers' and 'customer service'. He particularly enjoys helping people with diverse points of view agree on practical solutions.

Dharan is based in Wellington. He has a passion for the outdoors. On days off, he’ll be taking photographs of forests or waves, or out kite surfing.

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